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Former Chicago Police Chief To Challenge Mayor Who Fired Him

Charles Rex Arbogast/Associated Press

Former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced plans Wednesday night to run for mayor against the man who fired him after the release of dashcam video showing a white police officer fatally shooting a black teenager.

McCarthy's announcement, which he made on his campaign website, 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.