Today’s move by Mayor Rahm Emanuel to remove Garry McCarthy from his position as Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) was long needed. The ouster of McCarthy is one I initially called for last July at a press conference announcing a civil lawsuit against the City of Chicago and CPD officers whose conduct resulted in the wrongful death of 13-month-old Dillan Harris. In this case, CPD officers allegedly disregarded the calls by the Office of Emergency Management and Communication to cease a high-speed chase in a residential community, eventually leading to the child being struck and killed.
However, beginning in September of 2014 we first began to question McCarthy’s tactics after we sued his department and his top Commander, Glenn Evans, for the unnecessary use of excessive force on Rickey Williams. Further, just this past month, a federal judge refused to dismiss him from a lawsuit where we allege his practices led to the violation of the Fourth Amendment rights of hundreds of thousands of people across the City in illegal stop and frisk tactics.
Our repeated calls for McCarthy’s removal has been joined by citizens and elected officials including
15 of the 18 African-American aldermen who loudly expressed their disappointment in Supt. McCarthy citing he had failed to address violence in their wards and to increase diversity in the upper ranks of the department. In a strong, unified voice, the aldermen called upon Mayor Emanuel to remove Chicago’s top cop.
The fact that the release of the dashcam video chronicling the shooting of Laquan McDonald ultimately led to McCarthy’s demise is tragic. However, this is not an isolated incident as McCarthy and Mayor Emanuel proclaimed when the video was released where a CPD officer has emptied his revolver into citizens. In 2007, Latrice Wilson was shot at 24 times and struck 18 times by CPD officers. Our firm reached a $4.5 million settlement with the City of Chicago last year. In 2011 we represented the estate of Flint Farmer where Officer Gillardo Sierra continued to shoot at Farmer while he was still on the ground. I ask you, do three events in a few short years sound like an isolated incident or instead seem like a department that needs to be better trained and change its policies of covering up for its officer’s wrongdoings?
Today’s decision to remove McCarthy is only the first step in restoring the people’s trust in the Chicago Police Department.