CHICAGO (WLS) --Former Chicago Police Department superintendent Garry McCarthy talks publicly for the first time since his firing in the wake of the release of dashcam video in the police shooting of Laquan McDonald.
McCarthy talked about the McDonald case and crime in Chicago during a forum at Harvard University.
The former superintendent says he believes Mayor Rahm Emanuel made him the fall guy for the McDonald shooting despite the fact police shootings as well as overall crime dropped significantly under his tenure.
He notes shootings are up significantly over a year ago since his departure and says the city is in a crisis right now.
While others, including Mayor Emanuel, claim not to have seen it initially, McCarthy says he watched the tape of the McDonald shooting the day after it happened but his hands were tied.
"That was the end of my involvement until the Independent Police Review Authority recommended that I take the only disciplinary step by Illinois state law, which is to strip that officer of his police authority which I did immediately," McCarthy said.
The dash camera video of the shooting was not released publicly for 14 months after the incident. McCarthy says he had no role in that because the investigation was being handled by the Independent Police Review Authority and the feds, not Chicago Police. Nevertheless he agrees with the decision.
"If I was asked, which I wasn't, I would have recommended that we don't release it until the investigation was concluded," he said.
McCarthy says that's because the matter was still under investigation. Chicago police who were charged with controlling protests throughout the city that broke out when the video was eventually made public. McCarthy says officers handled those protests professionally under his leadership.
Despite his lack of involvement. He cites some three thousand emails released by City Hall.
"I was not on one email regarding that case. That was the completely in the hands of the prosecutors and the investigating agency," McCarthy said.
Regardless protestors called for McCarthy's resignation as well as the mayor's and State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. Several gathered Wednesday, calling voters to dump in next week's primary. McCarthy says he believes the mayor made him the fall guy.
"One of the things people love to say to me in Chicago, they say 'man you got screwed, but somebody had to take the hit,'" he said.
The former superintendent never mentioned Mayor Emanuel by name, but he made it clear he believes police were successful in reducing crime and violence under his leadership.
The mayor's office released a statement saying, "As the Mayor said in December, he appreciates Garry McCarthy's service to our city and his work to improve safety in our neighborhoods. While it was time for a new direction at the Chicago Police Department, the Mayor wishes him nothing but the best in the future."