DOWNTOWN — Even though he was running the Chicago Police Department when Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer, former superintendent Garry McCarthy did not participate in the U.S. Justice Department's yearlong probe into civil rights violations within the Chicago Police Department.
When asked about the former top cop's involvement in the investigation, outgoing U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch said McCarthy "wasn't available."
“That is a lie,” McCarthy told the Washington Post, saying the justice department made no effort to reach him. “With all the investigative resources of the federal government, they couldn’t find me here, in River North, which is a neighborhood in Chicago. That is absurd.”
“Last time I checked ... if Mr. McCarthy had things that he thought were important, he could do what every other citizen did" and contact the Justice Department, Chicago Police Board President Lori Lightfoot said at a news conference Friday.
Lightfoot, who last year headed the city's Police Accountability Task Force, noted that the Justice Department conducted several public forums and was receptive to emails and letters from Chicago residents.
"There were many, many avenues for outreach for the Department of Justice," Lightfoot said. "Mr. McCarthy clearly could have availed himself of those opportunities if he felt like his voice was important and needed to be heard."
McCarthy told the Sun-Times Lynch's team didn't approach him because his perspective "does not fit the narrative that they are pushing."
“They’ve already adopted the battle cry over and over again that we are disproportionately stopping African-Americans, and their conclusion is that we are biased and racially profiling,” he told the Sun-Times of the Justice Department probe. “They’re wrong.”
Indeed, the report released Friday pointed to a pattern and practice of civil rights violations, along with a failure to support and properly train the city's police officers.
In recent weeks, McCarthy has made a slew of television appearances blasting the city's treatment of police officers and blaming political games and anti-police rhetoric for the low morale and high crime in Chicago.
In a recent "60 Minutes" interview, he said that he was possibly Mayor Rahm Emanuel's scapegoat during the McDonald video fallout.
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