Mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy is our guest this week. McCarthy says he wants to bring the same “performance-based” management policies he used at the Chicago Police Department to the Office of the Mayor, and that he wants to “stop the politics and let’s start running city government like a business.”
McCarthy was Superintendent from 2011 until Mayor Emanuel asked for his resignation as the LaQuan McDonald situation boiled over in 2015.
“During my tenure not only was crime down 40%, not only did we have back to back years of 50-year lows in the murder rate, but we did it by making less arrests, more gun arrests at the same time, because I am concerned about mass incarceration,” he asserts. “I understand it. I’m one of the few police leaders in the country who will say that our war on drugs has been a spectacular failure. It doesn’t work. As a matter of fact my thinking as to what actually constitutes a crime has changed, okay? I want you to realize that we had a 68% reduction in police-related shootings while I was there.”
“So shootings were down, complaints against officers were down, arrests were down, crime was down,” he claims. “I mean these are metrics that any police leader in the country would want to have. It was well on its way towards reform when the rug got pulled out from underneath us.”
The show was recorded on Tuesday morning. The day before, McCarthy released a statement about the police shooting of barber Harith Augustus, saying: “At first blush, this shooting appears to be justified, based on what we see in that video and I’m pleased with its quick release. We are hoping that a thorough investigation gives us the truth as to what happened.”
When we spoke, I asked about the shooting:
(47:20 on the video)
Ken: So we have this really difficult situation where things just escalate so quickly and we don’t really – ‘we’ the public don’t really know. There’s no evidence that he reached for his gun.
Garry: I’m sorry, but that’s what I saw in that video. He very clearly put his hand on that gun, very clearly from what I saw.
Ken: Okay. Well you’re the professional and I’m not.
Garry: Yeah, but let me –
Ken: To me it looked like he was running away and the gun belt started falling and he tried to grab it.
Garry: Here’s what I want to say about that. If he’s in possession of a legal firearm — comply. Because we’re all in a dangerous situation. Because there’s a lot of guns at stake. I’m a police; well I’m not a police officer.
Garry: I was a police officer for 35 years and any time I got stopped on a vehicle stop or interacted with a police officer I said, “I’m on the job. I have a weapon,” which is – that’s cop lingo obviously. But it starts with compliance. If that young man had said, “I have a firearm. I have a FOID card,” it would have been an entirely different situation.
Ken: He apparently tried to show his FOID card, right?
Garry: Why did he push the officers away? Look, you weren’t there, I wasn’t there.
Ken: This is a crazy conversation.
Garry: And it’s based upon a very small snippet of what we saw.
Ken: But that raises the question, I just don’t understand the logic of releasing an edited piece of videotape. All it does is it just fuels the fires more.
Garry: I can’t answer it. I’m happy that they released it as quickly as they did, but I also want to be clear that that is a new policy. That’s a new policy across the country.
Ken: And Laquan McDonald really basically triggered that, right?
Garry: Well, there were other shootings that did the same thing, but at the time the policy was – don’t release video evidence. We don’t release evidence in a murder case, right? Why would we release evidence in some police shooting investigation if it’s not completed? That was the policy.
Ken: So where are you on that today? Are you opposed to that policy? Would you change that policy?
Garry: Well now that we’ve taken this leap we might as well just keep going and see what happens.
We also talk about education, an area where the former Superintendent has no formal experience. But he says his 30 years in policing in three cities has illustrated the needs of big-city education pretty clearly. He tells us he’s fan of charter schools and he expanded on what he sees as a serious need for combining education with an array of social services.
“So our platform,” he explains, is “to take the social services and actually put them right into the schools and make the schools a hub for the community, and two-tier treatment for not just the kid, but what’s happening in the home. Now government cannot create parenting, but we can create something called collective efficacy, which means that we can create the conditions so that young man or woman will succeed. We’re not doing that right now. And you know I compared what’s happening on the southwest border to closing the schools and pulling the social services from the south and west side. Where is the compassion? Where is the compassion? If you are sitting in an ivory tower dictating what’s going to happen and not listening to what people need, if all you want to do is bring big corporations in downtown, we get cranes in the air downtown while the neighborhoods are withering. So we need to bring back trade schools because not everybody is going to succeed and go on to a college education. And by the way, if you get a B average you can go to community college for free and then you can drive a taxicab. I mean this is not a formula for success. We have to teach people to fish. We need electricians and carpenters and tradesmen, and then what we need to do is stop making small businesses shoulder the burden of taxes because we are giving breaks to companies like Amazon to come here. And they are not paying their fair share but everybody else is getting increases all at the same time. We take those small businesses and we send them to the places where the trade schools are and we create the market for jobs for those kids.”
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You can read a full transcript of the show here:CN transcript July 19 2018