McCarthy’s firing comes one week after the release of a video showing a Chicago police officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, which sparked peaceful protests throughout the city and moved the Chicago City Council’s black caucus to renew calls for McCarthy’s ouster they had initially voiced in October.
The officer who killed McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, was charged with first-degree murder last week, after a 13-month investigation that was brought to a conclusion only after a Cook County judge ordered the shocking video to be made public. Van Dyke is now out on bail.
In firing his head of police, Emanuel is no doubt hoping to contain the anger he and other city officials have faced in the wake of the video’s release. But decapitating the department—even if it does come with a newly formed task force on police accountability—is unlikely to satisfy those who are asking questions about why it took so long to charge Van Dyke, and why official police statements in the wake of McDonald’s shooting had incorrectly said that the boy was approaching officers when he was killed.
McCarthy appeared on ABC7 Eyewitness News This Morning, saying that he would “not give up on the good people of Chicago,” mere hours before his firing was reported.