Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, citing a lack of public trust in the police leadership after of the high-profile shooting that eventually led to a white officer being charged with first-degree murder in the death of a black teen shot 16 times in a street last year, the Chicago Tribune reports. “Superintendent McCarthy knows that a police officer is only as effective as when he has the trust of those he serves,” Emanuel said at a news conference where he appointed a task force to look at police accountability. Emanuel said McCarthy can be proud of his record. “Now is the time for fresh eyes and new leadership to confront the challenges the department and our community and our city are facing as we go forward.”
Emanuel appointed First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante to serve as acting commissioner during a “thorough” search for a replacement.
The new task force “will review the system of accountability, oversight and training that is currently in place for Chicago’s police officers.” Appointing a committee to look into an issue is a tried-and-true tactic officials long have employed to buy time and breathing room when faced with a crisis. In this case, Emanuel is giving the panel four months to make recommendations for changes in the police department. The dismissal of McCarthy grew out of the release of the viral video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot repeatedly by officer Jason Van Dyke. The slow pace of the investigation, Emanuel’s refusal for months to release the video, a lack of discernible audio from police videos of the shooting and an 86-minute gap in surveillance video at a nearby Burger King at the time of the shooting have led to cover-up accusations.