This story is over 5 years old.

The VICE Guide to Right Now

Chicago's Top Cop Just Got Fired

Garry McCarthy was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel days after a video of a Chicago officer shooting a teenager 16 times was released to the public.
December 1, 2015, 5:12pm
Photo via Flickr user JohnPickenPhoto

After weeks of anticipation and subsequent outrage over the release of the video of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by a Chicago cop, the city's police superintendent was fired early Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Timesreports.

Garry McCarthy, who was previously the top cop in Newark, New Jersey and an operations chief in New York City, has overseen Chicago police since well before McDonald's death at the hands of Officer Jason van Dyke last fall. Van Dyke, who's been charged with first-degree murder for the incident, was freed on $1.5 million bail Monday. Apparently, between that case and the tragic video of a local nine-year-old being brutally murdered, allegedly by a gang that had beef with his father, Mayor Rahm Emanuel decided a head needed to roll.

"Now is a time for fresh eyes and new leadership," Emanuel said at a morning news conference, where he acknowledged the public's trust in his police force "has been shaken and eroded."

Critics are pointing out that Emanuel and Cook County Prosecutor Anita Alvarez did everything they could to delay the release of the McDonald shooting video, as the mayor faced a re-election campaign shortly not long after the incident in October 2014. It's fair to ask why McCarthy is the only one paying any kind of price. But if nothing else, in a city where police accountability is virtually nonexistent, that Van Dyke has been charged and the police leader is gone suggest that the city government is not totally blind to the problems activists have been shouting about for years.