(CBS) – Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy admits he knew the video of Laquan McDonald’s shooting would mean trouble.
Since the release of the tape – showing white police officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting a black teen 16 times in October 2014 – pressure for McCarthy to resign has mounted.
The superintendent tells CBS 2’s Mai Martinez his hands effectively have been tied.
He says he viewed the dash-cam video of the fatal shooting within a couple of days of McDonald’s death.
“It’s obviously a terrible video, and obviously a terrible tragedy. When I learned the circumstances of Mr. McDonald’s life — that he was a ward of the state at the time — and the troubles that he had had growing up, I thought that the whole thing was a tragedy,” McCarthy says.
As for his officer, McCarthy says, “I knew that it was problematic for the officer because it’s going to be hard to articulate why you fired so many rounds.”
The superintendent says he immediately stripped Van Dyke of his police powers. Legally, McCarthy says, that’s all he could do.
“I couldn’t fire him. I couldn’t put him in a ‘no pay’ status. I couldn’t discipline him. That’s the law,” he says. “It was not the Chicago Police Department investigating this incident.”
Instead, the Independent Police Review Authority began investigating, which is the normal protocol when an officer shoots a suspect. IPRA alerted federal and state investigators after reviewing the dash-cam video.
McCarthy has said he will not resign over the McDonald shooting but concedes “it’s a very high-charged political atmosphere that we’re living in right now.”
He says he’ll focus on what he can control, including administrative investigations of the shooting, once the criminal and federal probes are complete. One question he has: Why wasn’t the audio on the dashboard cameras working properly? He also wants to review what witnessing police officers told investigators.
McCarthy says the fatal shooting has already led to changes in the department’s policy and training.
Mayor Emanuel on Tuesday will announce the creation of the Task Force on Police Accountability. It will review oversight and training that is currently in place for Chicago’s police officers.