Demands to Fire McCarthy Grow in Wake of Laquan McDonald Protests

The list of those calling for Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy's resignation has grown in the days since the release of the dash-cam video showing the fatal shooting of teen Laquan McDonald by a Chicago police officer.

The latest public figure to add her voice to the call is U.S. Senate candidate Andrea Zopp, who is the former president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. On Monday morning, Zopp issued a statement demanding McCarthy resign and asking for a special prosecutor in the case of Jason Van Dyke, the officer charged with shooting 17-year-old McDonald 16 times.

"The killing of Laquan McDonald by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has raised issues of transparency, accountability, and trust that must be addressed," Zopp said. "This tragedy also raises serious questions about the handling of the case by the Cook County State's Attorney's office and the Chicago Police Department. The 13-month delay between the shooting and any charges being brought or the release of the video is incomprehensible. ... In addition, the lack of a clear commitment to timely accountability for officer misconduct as demonstrated in the McDonald case and others, such as the killing of Rekia Boyd by officer Dante Servin, has called into question the leadership of Chicago Police Department Superintendent Garry McCarthy. He has lost credibility with communities across this city and it is time for him to resign." 

Last week, the City Council's Black Caucus convened for a press conference to publicly demand McCarthy's resignation for the second time in just a few months. The group, which is led by chairman Ald. Roderick Sawyer, also questioned Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez's decision to wait 13 months before charging Van Dyke.

In response, McCarthy said, "I've never quit anything in my life." 

"I'm 56 years old," McCarthy said. "I don't expect that to change. What I will tell you is the mayor has made it very clear. He has my back." 

In October, the Black Caucus held another press conference to call for the firing of McCarthy, whom they accused of failing to curb violence in Chicago. McCarthy responded by saying he had no plans to step down.

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle also voiced her opinion that McCarthy should resign, saying she called Mayor Rahm Emanuel Friday morning to tell him she was joining members of the City Council who want McCarthy out.

Several activists, including Rev. Jesse Jackson and Father Michael Pfleger, among others, have joined the throng as well.

McCarthy is not the only one taking the blame for the handling of the McDonald case, however. Emanuel and Alvarez have also received heat from other politicians and activists for their roles in holding off on releasing the dash-cam video to the public and filing charges against Van Dyke.

Immediately after the release of the video last week, the hashtag #ResignRahm was trending on Twitter in Chicago. Several others, including former mayoral candidate Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, joined Alvarez's opponents in the March 2016 primary and demanded that she should resign as well.

Alvarez defended herself and Emanuel on Tuesday after first-degree murder charges were filed against Van Dyke, saying the mayor's plea to keep the video away from the public eye "was in the best interest of the investigation." Alvarez added that the reason it took 13 months to charge Van Dyke is because investigations into police shootings and misconduct are "massive and labor intensive."

On Monday, Alvarez released a statement in defense of her investigation, saying she will not be "bullied by politicians." 

"I am a professional prosecutor and I am not driven by politics," Alvarez said. "I will not be bullied by politicians who do not have a full understanding of the facts of this investigation. I offer no apologies for enlisting the FBI to investigate Laquan's murder because obviously the Chicago Police Department could not investigate themselves in this case. And I certainly do not apologize for conducting a meticulous and thorough investigation to build the strongest possible First Degree Murder case against Officer Van Dyke."

Members of the NAACP in Chicago have also staged a protest and held two press conferences demanding police reform in the past week. Although they did not call for McCarthy's resignation, many members shouted that they wanted Emanuel and Alvarez to resign. They also said they plan to file a complaint with the Department of Justice concerning the Independent Police Review Authority and its relationship to the Chicago Police Department that McCarthy runs. 

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