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McCarthy: No Cover-Up In Police Beach Closure

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Garry McCarthy, Chicago's new police superintendent (CBS)

Garry McCarthy, Chicago’s new police superintendent (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — The questions won’t go away about why Chicago police closed North Avenue Beach on Monday evening.

On Friday, Acting Police Supt. Garry McCarthy insisted the evacuation was strictly in response to medical calls about heat exhaustion. Some have speculated gang activity was behind the police decision.

In an interview with CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, McCarthy appeared eager to put the issue to rest.

In McCarthy’s view, the controversy raises important issues about his credibility and the way he intends to do business after his expected confirmation by City Council next week as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s choice to lead the police department. 

“No way was the decision made on anything but public health,” McCarthy said.

He said police have reviewed service calls and video. He says there was just one call about men loitering, among 19 calls for service made from the beach that day. Seven ambulances were dispatched.

Why do some people still doubt that explanation?

If it is an issue of distrust, McCarthy says, “We’re going to overcome that.”

“I’m hoping in six months from now or two weeks from now or even tomorrow, (people will say) ‘OK, if Garry McCarthy says this, we believe him because if he’s wrong, he’s gonna say he’s wrong.’”

“I’ve done that,” McCarthy added. “You can go back at news clips where I say, ‘Guess what? We blew this one. We made a mistake here.’”

McCarthy said he didn’t find out about the decision to clear the beach until after it was already done. And he has no problem with that. He says his commanders have the authority to make those decisions. This one, he says, was the correct one.

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