The impact of the release of the Laquan McDonald video continues to build. Today Mayor Emanuel announced the resignation of Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy. In his first press conference since the video release, Emanuel praised McCarthy for a 34 percent drop in the crime rate, community policing and a modernization of the police department but said the public trust has been shaken and eroded, “so it’s time for fresh eyes and new leadership.”
The mayor also said he deserves to be held responsible and accountable for the tragedy and its aftermath. His comments come as he announced the formation of a police accountability task force that will address a number of issues including: the creation of an early warning system to identify rogue cops, a better system to handle excessive force complaints, and a way to balance the inherent conflict between the transparency the public deserves and the integrity investigations need.
The BGA’s attorney Matt Topic also represents, in his private practice, the freelance journalist who successfully sued for the release of the shocking video. Topic appeared on the BGA’s regular Saturday morning segment on ABC 7 to discuss the case and the BGA’s multiple lawsuits against the Chicago Police Department.
I also talked about the unanswered questions surrounding the shooting and delayed release of the video on Watchdog Wednesday, the BGA’s regular WBBM Newsradio segment.
At today’s press conference the mayor said the problems in the Chicago Police Department are historic and systemic. The BGA could not agree more. While the video is shocking, the handling of this case is not surprising to watchdogs like the BGA who have been investigating the Chicago Police Department and the State’s Attorneys Office for years.
Here’s a look at few of the BGA investigations:
The City of Chicago has spent more than $521 million over the past decade on police misconduct-related settlements, judgments, legal fees and other costs – a staggering sum that calls into question the adequacy of the police department’s training and oversight.
Chicago police have fatally shot 70 people over a five-year span, tops among departments in the largest U.S. cities, though the city ranked fourth behind Phoenix, Philadelphia and Dallas when the numbers are adjusted for population.
An in-depth profile of the two-term incumbent state’s attorney – the top prosecutor in one of the largest court systems in the country.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s commitment to public transparency and accountability has been woeful.
In addition to investigations the BGA has sued Chicago police six times in the last five years for failing to comply with the state’s open records laws.