CHICAGO — As they have done repeatedly, a large group of activists showed up at tonight’s public Chicago Police Board meeting and raised their voices in unison while refusing to take their seats. They voiced outrage over alleged police misconduct cases and again called for Officer Dante Servin to be fired for the off duty shooting that killed Rekia Boyd four years ago.
But after the board chairman officer announced they wouldn’t hold an evidentiary hearing on the case until May 19th, the activists took over and eventually forced the board to adjourn tonight’s meeting early.
It is a scene symbolizing the challenges facing the city’s next top cop.
The three final candidates were announced today for Chicago Police Department’s next superintendent.
While the mayor says he’s eager to start interviewing the finalists, there are a lot of factors at play, including race and whether the next superintendent comes from inside or outside the department.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he’ll act quickly to name the city’s next top cop.
The police board whittled the field of 39 candidates down to three finalists;
Cedric Alexander, public safety director in Dekalb County, Georgia; Anne Kirkpatrick, former police chief in Spokane, Washington; and Chicago Police deputy superintendent Eugene Williams. Williams interviewed for the job in 2011 and lost out to Garry McCarthy.
Ja’Mal Green is one of the activists who organized massive protests over the city’s handling of the Laquan McDonald investigation. In the fallout, he justice department launched a federal probe and McCarthy lost his job. And, this week, Cook County state’s attorney Anita Alvarez lost her bid for re-election.
“We need a superintendent that understands what we’re going through in our neighborhoods and can fix it,” Green said.
Missing from the list of finalists is the interim superintendent, John Escalante.
The City Council’s Latino caucus sent a letter to the mayor calling it “insulting and disrespectful” that in a city as diverse as Chicago, no Latino candidate made the final cut.
Dean Angelo president of the union that represents Chicago’s rank and file officers is not endorsing anyone but says whoever gets the position has an extremely difficult job ahead.
“I don’t know if an insider could be perceived as being a reformer,” he said.
The last two police superintendents came from outside the department. Mayor Emanuel says he’s focused on finding someone who will work to reduce crime by improving community relations and rallying the troops for the effort.