Chicago police head fired after officer charged with murder: Report

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Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy Fired

CHICAGO (Reuters) -- Chicago's police chief was ousted on Tuesday following days of unrest over video footage showing the shooting of a black teenager and the filing of murder charges against a white police officer in the young man's death.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced during a news conference he had asked Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy to resign. The mayor also said he was creating a new police accountability task force.

READ MORE: Man who threatened to 'execute' white students at Chicago university is arrested

The white officer, Jason Van Dyke, was charged a week ago with first-degree murder in the killing of Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times. The video of the killing was released on the same day.

See photos from the investigation into Laquan McDonald's death:

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Chicago police head fired after officer charged with murder: Report
CHICAGO, IL - UNDATED: In this handout provided by the Cook County State's Attorney's Office, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke poses for a mugshot photo after he was was arrested for the shooting death of an African-American teen in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014 after responding to a call of a knife wielding man who had threatened the complainant and was attempting to break into vehicles in a trucking yard. (Photo by Cook County State's Attorney's Office via Getty Images)
A memorial to 17-year-old Laquan McDonald and other victims of violence at the Sullivan House Alternative High School in Chicago is seen on April 17, 2015. McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. A judge has ordered the video of the shooting to be made public. (Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke arrives at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in Chicago on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015, to possibly face charges for the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Dan Herbert, lawyer for Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, speaks to the press following a bond hearing for Van Dyke at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014 after responding to a call of a knife wielding man who had threatened the complainant and was attempting to break into vehicles in a trucking yard. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Dan Herbert, lawyer for Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, speaks to the press following a bond hearing for Van Dyke at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014 after responding to a call of a knife wielding man who had threatened the complainant and was attempting to break into vehicles in a trucking yard. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - NOVEMBER 24: Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez leaves after speaking to the media about Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke following a bond hearing for Van Dyke at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building on November 24, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times on October 20, 2014 after responding to a call of a knife wielding man who had threatened the complainant and was attempting to break into vehicles in a trucking yard. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
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High-profile killings of black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officials in U.S. cities have prompted demonstrations in the last two years, stoking a national debate on race relations and police tactics.

The mayor, a Democrat and the former chief of staff to U.S. President Barack Obama, said he was responsible for what happened in the case, the same as the police superintendent.

"I'm responsible. I don't shirk that responsibility," Emanuel said. He added that the creation of the task force was meant to rebuild trust in the police department of one of the country's largest cities.

Emanuel said McCarthy had become an issue and "a distraction." In an editorial on Tuesday, the Chicago Sun-Times had called for McCarthy's resignation. The Chicago City Council black caucus and some protesters had also called for him to leave.

"I have a lot of loyalty to what he's done and him, but I have more loyalty to the city of Chicago and its future," Emanuel said.

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Emanuel, McCarthy and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez have faced criticism for taking 13 months to release the video of the 2014 shooting and to charge Van Dyke.

Policing and street violence have emerged as leading issues for Emanuel since his election in April to a second term after being forced into a runoff.

The video shows Van Dyke gunning down McDonald, 17, in the middle of a street on Oct. 20, 2014, as McDonald was walking away from police who had confronted him.

Van Dyke, 37, was released from jail on Monday after posting bond on a $1.5 million bail.

Protests followed the charging and arrest of Van Dyke and the release of the video on Nov. 24.

In a protest on Monday, the president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Cornell William Brooks, was one of several protesters arrested, the organization said.

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'MISCONDUCT' AND 'BRUTALITY'

On Tuesday, Brooks accused the city of "generational police misconduct and police brutality" and called for more than a change in leadership.

"The question before us now is, 'Will we have a police department that is accountable, that has transparency and operates with integrity and treats the citizens of Chicago with respect and dignity and understands profoundly that black lives matter, all lives matter. And certainly the life of a 17-year-old young man,'" Brooks told CNN.

Black Alderman Leslie Hairston, who had called for McCarthy's resignation, told the news network: "You've got a whole system that has failed in the Chicago Police Department." She said she had no confidence in the mayor either.

Emanuel said the new task force, which will be advised by former Massachusetts Governor and Chicago native Deval Patrick, will review the system of accountability, oversight and training in the police department.

The five-member panel will recommend reforms to improve independent oversight of police misconduct, ensure officers with repeated complaints are evaluated and establish a process for release of videos of police-involved incidents, Emanuel said. Its recommendations will be presented to the mayor and city council by March 31, 2016.

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