McCarthy calls McDonald family settlement a 'cover-up'
In a recent radio appearance, former Chicago police superintendent and mayoral candidate Garry McCarthy called the recent settlement to the family of Laquan McDonald "a cover-up."
McCarthy made the comments on Sept. 19 while speaking to the hosts of "Chicago's Morning Answer."
McCarthy said the city's attorneys made the settlement to keep a dashcam video showing police shooting McDonald from being released.
McCarthy said he was held accountable, but did not have the authority to terminate former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke after the incident occurred.
"I was not in charge of the discipline system," McCarthy said on the radio show. "Eddie Johnson is in the same position today. You can only make a recommendation to the police board for termination or suspensions of more than 30 days. I was not in charge of the investigation."
McCarthy said he was accountable for the behavior of the officers.
"You can't work like that," McCarthy said. "It's a poor business model. The bottom line that people don't understand is the only thing I could do by Illinois state law—not by contractual obligation—was to put that officer on paid desk duty. The other thing that people need to know is that the cover-up of that video—that didn't happen on the criminal side. The U.S. Attorney and the state's attorney were in charge of that investigation ... the Chicago Police Department was uninvolved in that."
McCarthy said the city's attorneys implemented the cover-up by giving the family $5 million in return for not releasing the video.
"That happened outside my purview—as did the entire investigation," McCarthy said. "It's a failed business model that needs to be changed. You can't have accountability without authority."
When host Dan Proft asked McCarthy to clarify if he considered the settlement an attempt to cover up what had happened, McCarthy responded that it wasn't an attempt—it was a cover-up.
"It was a cover-up to prevent that video from being released," McCarthy said.
McCarthy said McDonald's family had not filed a lawsuit at the time the city entered into the negotiations for the settlement.
"The thing that is really disturbing is that they didn't even file a lawsuit," McCarthy said. "The state does not go around giving free money if you don't file a lawsuit."
McDonald was shot by Van Dyke on Oct. 20, 2014. McDonald had been observed walking down the street with a folding knife and did not drop the knife with police officers commanded him to do so.
Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times in a matter of seconds. None of the other officers who had been on the scene fired their weapons.
McCarthy was terminated in the aftermath of the shooting.