Chicago police chief forced to quit over teen shooting

Demonstrators outside the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, following the press conference where the mayor announced the stepping down of police chief Garry McCarthy.
Demonstrators outside the office of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, following the press conference where the mayor announced the stepping down of police chief Garry McCarthy.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

CHICAGO • The police chief of one of the United States' largest cities has been forced to step down after days of protest over a white officer's shooting of a black teenager 16 times and the department's refusal to release a video of the killing for more than a year.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced at a press meeting on Tuesday that he had asked police superintendent Garry McCarthy, on the job since May 2011, to resign.

Mr Emanuel said Supt McCarthy had become "a distraction". However, he took responsibility for what happened in the case, adding that his responsibility was the same as the police superintendent's.

Mr Emanuel also said he was creating a new police accountability task force. He said the new five-member panel aims to boost independent oversight of police misconduct, among other things.

The Chicago Sun-Times and Chicago City Council black caucus had called for Supt McCarthy to leave. The Conference of Na-tional Black Churches applauded his dismissal.

But Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police president Dean Angelo said: "We're surprised that at this time... that a change at the top would occur. We thought the mayor was supportive of the superintendent."

The authorities have drawn flak for taking 13 months to release the video and charge the white officer, who was released from jail on Monday after posting bond on a US$1.5 million (S$2.1 million) bail.

High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officials in US cities have fuelled demonstrations for about two years, stoking a national debate on race relations and police tactics.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 03, 2015, with the headline 'Chicago police chief forced to quit over teen shooting'. Print Edition | Subscribe