Garry McCarthy fired: What went wrong?

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - Video of the Laquan McDonald shooting set off an emotional tsunami, raising questions around the world about police brutality in Chicago. And until Tuesday, it looked like CPD Superintendent McCarthy would keep his job.

But suddenly, everything changed.

The surest sign Mayor Emanuel did not plan to fire McCarthy was a joint news conference they had announced for mid-day. Also, the superintendent confidently visited several morning news shows. But then he cancelled that tour, right after being interrogated on Good Day Chicago by our Darlene Hill.

READ MORE | Emanuel fires McCarthy in wake of video release

We now know the mayor who had told McCarthy he had his back had suddenly changed his mind. 

The likeliest reason for that flip-flop: Rahm Emanuel may have gotten a heads up from fellow Chicago Democrat and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. By the end of the day, she released a letter she sent to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch that used scathing, scorching language to describe the Chicago CPD Superintendent.

She called the Laquan McDonald shooting "shocking" and linked it to decades of other misdeeds, adding, "from 2011 to 2015, 97 percent of more than 28,500 citizen complaints resulted in no officer being punished. Trust in the Chicago Police Department is broken, especially in communities of color."

Whether Emanuel was tipped to all that or not, he cut short McCarthy's media tour and fired him, clearly with great regret.

“This morning, I formally asked for his resignation. The superintendent, Garry's record, at the Chicago Police Department, was a strong one,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said during a press conference Tuesday morning.

The move surprised aldermen, who said Emanuel had for a week rejected their private advice to fire McCarthy. 

Ald. Walter Burnett saw the mayor on Thanksgiving.

“The mayor expressed to me, ‘no, it's not going to happen. I'm going to stand with him.’”

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle applauded Emanuel's decision to dump McCarthy. Calling for broad ranging reforms, she cited police abuse of white and black Chicagoans that preceded McCarthy's tenure.

“Police officers who beat up civilians on Rush Street, an off-duty officer who beat up a woman bartender. None of these cases were addressed promptly and, in my view, appropriately. It's not just Laquan McDonald,” Preckwinkle said.

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