Chicago's Top Cop Addresses Critics at City Budget Hearing, Says He'll Stay on the Job

"My focus ... is on gangs and guns, not on Garry," Mayor Rahm Emanuel said.

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy faced tough questions at a City Council budget hearing Tuesday afternoon, one day after several city aldermen publicly called for his firing following another violent summer in the city.

"I can't worry about what people say," he said. "I understand their frustration and I am frustrated too. I can only control what I can control, which is working hard and keeping my nose to the grindstone."

The comments come in response to a press conference Monday, where 15 members of the Black Caucus called for Chicago's top cop to be fired. McCarthy has held the top spot for five years.

"Supt. McCarthy has had five years, he has failed," said Ald. Roderick Sawyer, chairman of the Black Caucus.

Many of the aldermen in Tuesday's budget committee meeting were openly hostile, saying the department is not meeting the needs of their communities.

"Not once have you come and walked and marched in my community since you have been superintendent," Ald. Anthony Beale said. "Not once have you called to say, 'How can I partner with you to make the community better?'"

At Tuesday's meeting, members of the Black Caucus continued citing data to back their calls for McCarthy's removal. Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward) compared the number of shooting incidents in Chicago this year to last. According to Brookins, there were 1,581 incidents in 2014 and 1,870 incidents already in 2015.

The comments come on the heels of a particularly violent September, which saw two consecutive weekends with more than 50 people shot.

"My constituents get sick and tired of hearing about statistics and no action," Ald. Carrie Austin said.

Despite the violent end to summerfewer people were reportedly shot last weekend than any since February.

Ald. Brookins and Ald. Anthony Beale (9th Ward) also pointed to the number of African-American officers in the police department as one of McCarthy's failures, saying 23 percent of the department and 32 percent of the command is African-American.

On Monday, McCarthy announced the retirement of his trusted second-in-command, Alfonza Wysinger. Wysinger is the highest-ranking African American in the Chicago Police Department. 

Ald. Beale also accused McCarthy of "systematically denying" the ability of African-American officers in the department to be promoted.

Despite the complaints, McCarthy has supporters both in the council chamber and on the fifth floor of City Hall. Mayor Rahm Emanuel was among those defending him Tuesday.

"My focus, and everyone's focus should be on gangs and guns, not on Garry," Emanuel said. "The problems related to gun violence are about too easy access to guns, too few penalties and not enough access to job opportunities." 

McCarthy said he did not take the criticism from the aldermen personally, adding that he has the resources he needs to get the job done and he has no plans of going anywhere. 

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