Sunday, August 21, 2011

Did Chief Garry McCarthy Disrespect the Chatham Community?

This past Saturday morning the Greater Chatham Alliance (GCA), a community organization, held their monthly meeting at Carter Temple, 79th Wabash. This meeting was a departure from their normal format as the meeting focus was a community forum with Chicago Police Department Chief of Police, Garry McCarthy. The organization had been marketing this event for a month with door to door flyer distribution, robo calls, and traditional and internet press releases. Also, they asked "The Mayor" WVON radio host Cliff Kelly to moderate the question and answer portion of the meeting.

This was not going to be the first trip to the Chatham community for Chief McCarthy as he had been involved in a community forum hosted by Bobby Rush, Congressman for the 1st Congressional District, and The Chatham Avalon Park Community Council (CAPCC) in May and came out to a major crime scene several weeks ago.

alderman sawyerThe meeting gathered over 200 residents and media representatives from Channel 7, The Reader, Bloggers and independent reporters who came out despite the rain. Roderick T. Sawyer, Alderman of the 6th Ward stepped up to the podium at approximately 11:45am to introduce the Superintendent. Alderman Sawyer mentioned in his remarks that he had attended an event earlier this week with the Superintendent and mentioned that he would see him on Saturday. The Alderman stated that the Superintendent made no indication that he was not going to attend.

commander carterIn an attempt to keep order, the Alderman introduced the new Chicago Police Commander of the 6th District, Eric Carter. Commander Carter is a veteran of the Chicago Police department and most recently served in the 4th district. As Commander Carter started his remarks he received a text and made an announcement that Chief McCarthy was not going to be attendance. There was no reason given and a number of attendees became visibly upset that after it took an hour for Chicago Police Department representatives to make announcement.

cliff kellyAlthough Chief McCarthy was not going to attend Commander Carter stayed and fielded questions from the audience moderated by Cliff Kelly. Some of the most popular questions centered around Chief McCarthy lack of attendance and perceived tardiness, Conceal & Carry and policing strategies being implemented. Commander Carter was able to answer most questions and did not answer the Conceal and Carry question.

vonilThe president of GCA, Roosevelt Vonil expressed his disappointment with Chief Mccarthy absence during his final remarks.

As of the writing of this post, there have been no published reports as to why the Superintendent was not in attendance. Should the Superintendent make a public apology to the Chatham community for not showing up or is his attendance at previous events sufficient? What do you think?

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