The announcement came during a news conference on Tuesday morning, where the mayor was expected to announce the appointment of a police accountability task force. Emanuel explained that on Sunday he had begun a conversation with the police chief about the direction of the department, and it ended with him asking for McCarthy’s resignation.
On Monday, McCarthy had been called in to City Hall, where he was not fired, but later in the evening the mayor reportedly called him and broke the news. Sources told the Chicago Sun Times that he seemed “shell-shocked,” as he was very secure in his position when he spoke at an international gathering for police chiefs in October.
“Welcome to Chicago, to my adopted home that I’m never leaving,” McCarthy then said. “Thank you, mayor, for bringing me here. I know, I’m never leaving. Sorry.”
Emanuel stated that trust in the department had been “shaken and eroded,” and that it is now time for “fresh eyes and new leadership.”
“Our goal is to build the trust and confidence with the public. And at this point and at this juncture in the city, given what we are working on, he has become an issue rather than dealing with the issue,” Emanuel added.
There have been many concerns from the public about McCarthy’s handling of the case of Officer Jason Van Dyke, a white police officer who has been charged with first-degree murder for the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
The graphic video lead to several days of protests erupting throughout the city.
Many have questioned whether there would have been charges had a judge not sided with independent journalists who filed Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for the footage.
First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante will now be serving as the acting superintendent for the department.