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Mitchell: McCarthy overstayed his welcome

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Garry McCarthy’s firing wasn’t a surprise.

After all, last month, the Chicago City Council’s Black Caucus called for McCarthy’s ouster and was ridiculed for blaming the police chief for the spike in homicides and shootings.

Since then, Chicagoans have seen that deadly police brutality isn’t something that happens somewhere else.

Every since the dashcam video was released showing a Chicago police officer shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times, protesters have kept up the pressure on City Hall to clean house.

As a Chicago Sun-Times front-page editorial pointed out on Tuesday, McCarthy had to go.


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There’s simply no way to build trust between communities of color and the Chicago Police Department when the head of the department is the focus of accusations that there’s been a police cover-up of a fatal shooting.

But unfortunately, Emanuel’s timing for firing McCarthy follows the same script used for the release of the violent dashcam video.

It took a lot of pounding from a lot of different fists before the mayor would let the video go.

In this instance, instead of heeding the counsel of African-American aldermen who called for McCarthy’s ouster, Emanuel stubbornly stood by his superintendent.

McCarthy should have been shown the exit in April when he said publicly that Chicago Police Detective Dante Servin shouldn’t have been charged for killing 22-year-old Rekia Boyd in 2012.

Boyd was fatally wounded when Servin fired into a crowd on the street. Servin was charged with manslaughter, but got off when a judge concluded prosecutors had leveled the wrong charges.

McCarthy’s comments were not only insensitive, his remarks showed a callous disregard for Boyd’s family and the community his officers serve.

It was insulting for McCarthy to come back months later and announce — in the middle of the fallout over the McDonald shooting — that he would fire Servin.

Was that supposed to make angry black protesters settle down?

Was that “day-late-dollar-short” decision supposed to give communities of color a big dose of trust?

Additionally, the timing of McCarthy’s firing feeds the appetites of conspiracy theorists.

Because while Rahm was holding a City Hall press conference to announce McCarthy’s ouster and that he is putting together a task force for police accountability, the mother of another black man killed by police last year was at her lawyer’s office tearfully telling her story to a room full of journalists.

Ronald Johnson was killed by a Chicago police officer eight days before McDonald was killed. Johnson’s mother, Dorothy Holmes, claims her son did not have a gun as policemen claimed and that dashcam video will prove it.

But just as it did in the McDonald case, the city is fighting to keep the dashcam video in this case under wraps.
But as explosive as this police-involved shooting appears, the news of the day wasn’t going to be what happened to Ronald Johnson.

In the middle of Holmes’ news conference, word came through that McCarthy was fired.

Maybe it was just a coincidence that McCarthy’s firing and Holmes’ plea for transparency intersected.

Maybe there was never any calculated attempt on the part of City Hall to cover up damaging dashcam videos.

But rather than the mayor looking as if he’s taken a bold step toward reform by firing McCarthy, he again looks like a master manipulator.

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