CHICAGO – Former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced he is officially running for mayor of Chicago.
McCarthy's announcement pits him against Rahm Emanuel in the February 2019 election. Emanuel fired McCarthy in 2015 as an effort to restore public confidence in the police force and his administration, just days after the court-ordered release of the video showing Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times.
"This administration has brought us our failed education system, the overwhelming tax burden on hard-working people, and the violent crime that plagues the entire city," McCarthy said. "Over the past year, thousands of Chicagoans have approached and encouraged me to run for mayor to fix these problems."
McCarthy was the police chief in Newark, New Jersey, after a long career in which he rose through the ranks of New York City's police force. Emanuel chose him to run Chicago's police department in 2011.
In McCarthy's first full year on the job, the number of homicides in Chicago climbed past the 500 mark. The total fell the next year and never reached 500 again during McCarthy's tenure. After he left, the number climbed, including in 2016 when it skyrocketed to 762 — something McCarthy has noted frequently in recent weeks as he laid the groundwork for his campaign.
McCarthy has defended his handling of the McDonald shooting and the video, which he had opposed releasing until the investigation was complete.
"The simple fact is, I was allowed by law to take one action in the Van Dyke case, and that was to put him on paid desk duty," he said during a recent appearance on a local television news program.
Former Chicago Public Schools CEO Paul Vallas, who has held education posts in Connecticut and Louisiana, has said he is considering a run in the February 2019 election.
Read McCarthy's full statement:
"It is no secret that Chicago is on the wrong path. This administration has brought us our failed education system, the overwhelming tax burden on hard-working people, and the violent crime that plagues the entire city. Over the past year, thousands of Chicagoans have approached and encouraged me to run for mayor to fix these problems. Under the current administration, we've heard nothing but broken promises from City Hall. When our Mayor focuses on politics, and not problem solving, none of us can move forward. It's time for new leadership that will fix our problems and pull us together. After thoughtful consideration and at the urging of my supporters, community leaders, and my family, I am officially announcing that I am running for Mayor of Chicago. With your help, I will humbly work in service to this city, each and every day."
Emanuel's campaign spokesperson issued a response to the former top cop's announcement:
"Anyone who thinks Chicago is only "ONE of the greatest cities in the world" not only does not deserve to be mayor of Chicago but does not make the minimum requirement needed to run for mayor of Chicago. Until Garry learns that Chicagoans do not share his desire to become New York City he is going to struggle in this proud town. "