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Police Chief Catches Blame For Alarming Violence Surge

By Kate Shepherd in News on Oct 6, 2015 7:50PM

Chicago Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy. Photo Credit: Viewminder

Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was grilled by a tough crowd at the City Council's budget hearing Tuesday afternoon. Aldermen challenged him on issues ranging from race in the police force to the city's shooting crisis to not answering their calls just a day after the Black Caucus called for his resignation.

Public officials said last week's Back of the Yards shooting that killed a mother and grandmother and wounded an 11-month-old boy and two others should be a call to action for the city.

"The current complacency that surrounds our city's gun violence is unacceptable," McCarthy said. "Now is the time for us to act."

Ald. Anthony Beale (Ward 9) slammed McCarthy for being "extremely disrespectful" to the aldermen and not working with them to address the violence in their communities. He's been out of touch with communities and unresponsive to to their leaders, according to Beale.

"You are not the smartest person in the room all the time," he said to McCarthy. "You have to listen to what other people have to say. I'm hoping you change the error of your ways."

McCarthy emphasized his work against illegal guns which he calls one of Chicago's biggest challenges and a top priority for his administration. Total arrests are down 25 percent while gun arrests are up 25 percent, he said. About 5,500 illegal guns have been taken off the streets, more than any other city in the country. And 2,500 offenders have been arrested on gun-related charges. Illegal gun arrests will now be assigned to a detective to give it the severity it deserves.

The police force is "Working hard to arrest the right people for the right reasons at the right places" and "focusing on those who torment our neighborhoods with violence," he said.

Concerning statistics were put in the spotlight when Ald. Howard Brookins (Ward 21) grilled McCarthy on data. For example:

  • 94 percent of shooting victims in Chicago are black or Hispanic

  • The rate of shooting investigations being solved by police in 2015 is a shocking eight percent

  • The rate for murders being solved this year is at 23 percent (but 47 percent if you include some previous years' data)

  • 23 percent of CPD staff is black
  • Despite the calls for McCarthy's firing, Mayor Rahm Emanuel is standing by his top cop. He said that, while he understands the frustration, the focus should be on gun violence and not McCarthy, according to the Tribune.

    "I understand [the aldermens'] frustration. Like many weekends, this weekend I was on the West Side and the South Side, and you have communities and families whose lives are affected by gun violence," Emanuel said. "And I understand the frustration that builds up in that effort."