Mayoral candidate and former Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Monday he’ll tackle the city’s crime woes largely by removing politics from the police department, charging that Mayor Rahm Emanuel has meddled far too often in the city’s policing strategies, reports the city’s Tribune. McCarthy made the remarks as he rolled out his campaign’s crime reduction policy outside the police department’s Bronzeville headquarters, where he criticized Emanuel for increased homicide numbers since the mayor fired him in December 2015. If elected in the February 2019 election, McCarthy pledged a policing strategy guided by “fundamental fairness” with better community relations, improved public trust and less interference from City Hall. “This administration has created a political environment that is emboldening criminals while hamstringing the police. The results have been disastrous, and we have to reverse that trend,” McCarthy said.
During a simultaneous news conference, Emanuel defended his handling of the police department and accused McCarthy of holding a different opinion of his leadership style when the two worked together. Emanuel fired McCarthy amid the fallout of the 2015 release of the Laquan McDonald police shooting video, which led to weeks of street demonstrations, accusations of a cover-up and calls for Emanuel’s resignation. “That was then and this is now,” Emanuel said. “You should ask him what changed.” McCarthy said he believes one of the reasons Emanuel fired him was because he resisted the mayor’s attempt to micromanage the department. Today, he said, “Policies are being driven by City Hall, and quite frankly, they’re not the experts that need to be doing that.” The duel of words played out as Chicago violence was again the subject of national attention after a weekend during which 12 were shot dead and another 63 were wounded.