Surprise Endorsement: Activist Andrew Holmes Supports Former Top Cop Gary McCarthy For Mayor

A surprise endorsement in the race for Mayor of Chicago was announced Tuesday.

The mayoral challengers expect there will be a run off to the February election and they are all anxious to be the one to make it to a two person contest, assuming Mayor Rahm Emanuel is the other candidate in that run off.

Community activist Andrew Holmes is at the heart of the battle against crime in Chicago. He can often be seen at crime scenes acting as a crisis counselor and spokesman for the community. Tuesday he endorsed former Chicago police superintendent Gary McCarthy.

Holmes said he witnessed how the former police superintendent listens.

"I have enormous respect for this man," McCarthy said of Holmes. "He is tireless, working in the community."

Both Holmes and McCarthy responded to the recent police-involved shooting of Harith Augustus in the South Shore neighborhood this weekend.

"We're not goinna create trust by wearing body cameras," McCarthy said, calling the shooting a "classic example" of mistrust in Chicago's communities.

"Why could they use the Tasers first, before using deadly force?" Holmes asked.

As NBC 5 reported last year in a profile of Holmes, on TV screens and in newspapers the activist often acts as the spokesman for families experiencing their most troubled times. “It’s not about the cameras and anything, its just about helping the people,” he said at the time.

Chicago Survivors, the group Holmes works for, operates out of a Hyde Park church. The group receives city and federal funding but is, according to executive director Susan Johnson, a former minister, independent of police or political pressure.

In 2016 the Survivor’s Network staffed 575 cases delivering free services from counseling to crime scene cleanup to childcare. Investigators, like Holmes, complete 80 hours of training.

In the backseat of his car Holmes carries a bulletproof vest, a protector---and a reminder---that anything can happen at any time. Like the random bullet that struck him 15 years ago.

NBC 5 reached out to Emanuel's campaign to ask about his reaction to Holmes' endorsement of McCarthy. A reporter tried to ask him in person as well today -- but he did not take the question.

His spokesman told NBC 5 "we have no response."

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