CHICAGO (CBS) — Former Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said he will announce next week whether he’ll run for mayor in 2019, setting up a race against the man who fired him amid the political firestorm over the fatal police shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
“It’s no secret that for the last several months literally thousands of Chicagoans have asked me to run for mayor. I have taken those calls to heart because I know the city is badly in need of genuine leadership and real change. At some point next week I will be making my final decision and sharing that with my supporters and the citizens of Chicago,” McCarthy said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The Chicago Sun-Times, citing a source close to the campaign, reports McCarthy plans to throw his hat in the ring. McCarthy reportedly will release a video Wednesday or Thursday showing the city’s former top cop touring Chicago neighborhoods. The announcement was timed to coincide with Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s trip to Puerto Rico to review recovery efforts six months after Hurricane Maria.
McCarthy formed an exploratory committee last fall, allowing him to begin raising money for a campaign.
According to the committee’s quarterly report for the end of 2017, McCarthy raised $49,184 last year. The committee also has reported an additional $33,300 in donations of at least $1,000 through March 7 so far this year.
McCarthy used most of the money he raised last year to begin detailed polling. The Sun-Times reports that polling shows him neck-and-neck with Emanuel.
In a December interview with CBS 2, McCarthy said more than anything, he is concerned over the increased murder rate since his firing.
“Overall, crime was down 40 percent. And now, there’s not a safe part of this city. There were carjackings on my block in River North. This has had a huge impact. And hundreds more people have died in Chicago. In the two years since I was fired, from Dec. 1, 2015 to Dec. 1, 2017, there were 1,401 Chicagoans killed, or people killed in Chicago,” he said.
McCarthy was fired in the firestorm that followed release of the Laquan McDonald police shooting video. McCarthy insists the investigation was out of his hands, that he could only place Officer Jason Van Dyke, since charged with murder, on desk duty.
Emanuel fired McCarthy as the city’s top cop in December 2015, a week after Van Dyke was charged with murder McDonald’s death in October 2014. Hours after Van Dyke was charged, the city released police dashboard camera video of Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times.
After he was fired, McCarthy and his wife started a private security firm.
McCarthy believes he wouldn’t have trouble winning African-American votes.
“I would do a lot better in the African-American community than many people think, because they know how hard I was working to prevent them from getting murdered,” he says.
McCarthy also has criticized the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of the Chicago Police Department.
The scathing report took the CPD to task for systemic violations of civil rights, finding officers regularly have used excessive force and discriminated against minorities. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said, during the investigation, the feds reached out to McCarthy for his input, but he was “not available.”
McCarthy called that “nonsense.”
“They must be really great investigators if they can’t find the former superintendent of police who lives right here in River North,” he said.
McCarthy said it’s odd that his perspective wasn’t included in the report. In fact, he says, he probably should have been the first person interviewed.
In preparing for a possible run for mayor, McCarthy has had initial talks with the consultant who advised Doug Jones in his upset win in the U.S. Senate race in Alabama. He also has set up a campaign website.
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas also has said he is considering a bid for mayor. Former CPS principal Troy LaRaviere, a frequent critic of the Emanuel administration and CPS policies, also has said he plans to run and has set up a campaign website.