Police Commissioner Bill Bratton called the controversial Chicago police superintendent who was fired yesterday a “very good friend,” adding that the Windy City’s top cop is often hired “just to be fired.”
“The Chicago pundits opined yesterday that Chicago police superintendents are hired to be fired. That situation seems to me to be a consistent issue in Chicago,” Mr. Bratton told reporters today at One Police Plaza. “Garry [McCarthy] is a very good friend, personally and professionally.”
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a Democrat, fired the superintendent, Garry McCarthy, after the recent release of a shocking video showing a white Chicago police officer repeatedly shooting and quickly killing Laquan McDonald, a black teenager. Mr. Emanuel, grappling with a surge in shootings and murders while facing criticism for the way his department has interacted with minority communities, was pressured to dismiss Mr. McCarthy, who as recently as last week was appearing at his side during press conferences.
The police commissioner recalled Mr. McCarthy’s development as a young captain in the NYPD in “a very significant command at a very tough precinct” during Mr. Bratton’s tenure as commissioner under Republican Rudolph Giuliani.
“It’s been a very rough ride out there during those three or four years,” Mr. Bratton said of Mr. McCarthy’s Chicago tenure. “And so I’m very sorry to see the circumstances under which he is now leaving Chicago. But we’ll have to see how that plays out.”
Mr. Bratton is also faced with the task of healing divisions between police and minorities, but New York, statistically-speaking, has been a safer city over the last several years. His crisis arguably came last year after a Staten Island grand jury voted not to indict a white police officer in the death of Eric Garner, a black man, and a wave of protests rocked the city. Shortly after the Garner decision, two police officers were murdered, leading to backlash against the police reform movement and straining already poor relations between City Hall and police unions.
Will Bredderman contributed reporting.