CHICAGO (CBS) — Youth and community groups who oppose Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s plan for a new $95 million police academy have been protesting for months.
Tuesday night, the protesters were joined by a surprising ally – former Police Superintendent and Mayoral Candidate Garry McCarthy.
“Our training academy, in my book, was adequate for what we had at the time and I could certainly find better places to spend $95 million,” stated McCarthy.
McCarthy is supporting the #NoCopAcademy demonstrators who’ve repeatedly protested at City Hall, claiming the academy is a waste of money.
“We need social services and schools on the South side and West side and we have to stop the exodus from the city,” said McCarthy. “That’s not going to do that. That shouldn’t be part of the plan because there’s other priorities that absolutely exist.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel countered McCarthy’s argument Tuesday, saying the academy was a prime focus in a highly critical federal report on Chicago policing.
“The Obama Justice Department, in their review, made this a priority,” stated Emanuel. “Or Else they wouldn’t have put it in because the nine facilities scattered around the city are antiquated.”
McCarthy criticized the city’s handling of rampaging teens who fought with each other and passersby along Michigan Avenue during Memorial Day weekend.
Police said they redirected the teens back to the CTA to get them out of the Loop.
“So what was the mistake authorities made Memorial Day Weekend? There should have been more arrests,” said McCarthy. “Anybody in that type of behavior should have been arrested. So they’re going to do it again. They didn’t learn a lesson because they weren’t arrested.”
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said there were about 15 arrests over Memorial Day weekend, adding the department didn’t want to arrest kids indiscriminately. He said police are in a no-win situation and are criticized when they make large-scale arrests and when they do not.