A group of black aldermen on Monday called for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, saying the city’s top cop hasn’t done enough to deal with crime in their wards or bring more diversity to the upper ranks of the department.
A City Hall news conference included most of the 18 members of the City Council Black Caucus, including some aldermen who have been staunch supporters of Emanuel’s agenda. Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th, chairman of the caucus, said the group decided after years of frustration to push for McCarthy’s ouster on the day before he and Police Department brass are scheduled to come to the council for their annual budget hearing.
The call for McCarthy’s dismissal comes weeks before aldermen will be asked to vote for an Emanuel budget that includes a massive property tax increase and new monthly garbage collection fee. But the council members denied they were trying to soften the political blow from that vote by going after the police superintendent who has borne much of the criticism for stubbornly high violent crime in their wards.
The Black Caucus held its news conference the same day the department’s highest-ranking African-American, Alfonza Wysinger, 53, announced his retirement after nearly 30 years of service. McCarthy named Chief of Detectives John Escalante, who is Hispanic, to succeed Wysinger as first deputy police superintendent.
The command changes were made as Chicago continues to be hit hard by violence, with September posting the most homicides for that month in 13 years and the most killings for any month in 2015. Through Sept. 27, homicides and shooting incidents have risen 21 percent from the year-earlier period, official department numbers show