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Chicago mayoral candidates weigh in after officers found not guilty in Laquan McDonald cover-up trial

CHICAGO — The third and final group of mayoral candidates appeared before the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Thursday and weighed in on the judge’s finding in the Laquan McDonald cover-up trial.

Policy consultant Amara Enyia, attorney Jerry Joyce Jr., former Police Board President Lori Lightfoot, and former police Supt. Garry McCarthy all made their case to be the next mayor at the forum.

A judge on Thursday acquitted three Chicago police officers of trying to cover up the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald to try to protect Jason Van Dyke — who pulled the trigger.

Lightfoot said the verdict didn’t terribly surprise her, but it disappointed her, whereas McCarthy said he respects the system and the verdict.

“Is there a code of silence? I can’t point it specifically but as they do mature, they learn how to testify,” he said.

“When we talk about the relationship between police and community, it’s verdicts like this that continue to erode that trust from ever being established," Enyia said.

Over the course of two hours a big chunk of the questioning focused on violence and what the candidates would do.

“Bring in more detectives, give them better training, require more accountability. Cases would be worked. They’ll solve more crimes. Simple,” Joyce said.

“We need ethics from City Hall and that’s the first thing that will make a difference with violence,” McCarthy said.

“We have to invest in access to mental health. Again, violence is a state of mind before it’s an action,” Enyia said.

The candidates also weighed in on managing the city’s finances and pension crisis.

The candidates were asked how they would enter into negotiations with the Chicago Teachers Union, who is asking for pay increases in the next contract.

McCarthy said the city needs to invest in great teachers. Lightfoot said teachers should be treated fairly, but that the city shouldn’t make promises they can’t keep.

Neal Sales Griffin was also scheduled to be at the Forum Thursday. He did not attend reportedly due to his ballot petitions being challenged.

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