Supt. Garry McCarthy: 'I couldn't be more proud'

May 22, 2012 2:50:18 AM PDT
Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Monday that he thinks police morale is ''very, very good,'' although his officers are ready for the NATO protests in Chicago to be over.

"I think morale is actually very, very good. The cops know, and they're hearing it, not only from me, but certainly from the public, that they've done an outstanding job. I think they're very proud of this event. They realize this is a historic event and they're all taking part of it," McCarthy said. "I think people are kind of tired, they're looking forward to it ending, but at the same token, they're proud of their accomplishment."

Eight Chicago police officers were injured Sunday as they tried to disperse protesters at the end of a march. What had been a peaceful event became violent when some protesters tried to push past the police line near McCormick Place.

"Everybody is OK," Supt. McCarthy said. "The one that I thought that was worse was an officer who was stabbed in the leg. It turns out last night he was on Michigan Avenue, on the line, back at work."

McCarthy has been at all of the major NATO protest events in downtown Chicago, including the Sunday melee. When asked why, McCarthy said, "It's where I'm supposed to be, right. I loved being a police officer before I was ever a sergeant, lieutenant, captain and so on up the line, and I have a great reverence and respect for officers."

His hands-on leadership, has garnered attention from a popular police blog,, which wrote, "We'll give the guy his props. He was out at the parade from all the reports in the news and in our comment sections... Nicely done Superintendent."

"I couldn't be more proud of these guys. They did a great job," Supt. McCarthy said.

Supt. McCarthy said the CPD was prepared for the peaceful protests and the alleged criminals who came to "something other than protesting." He spoke about the arrests of suspects accused of making Molotov cocktails and said the department's undercover unit has been "very helpful," but refused to give details.

"If you think it's easy to ask people to do what they did, it's not," said an emotional McCarthy Sunday. "Asking people to put themselves in harm's way, knowing that they're going to get assaulted, to have to stand there and take it. These guys were amazing."

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