Chicago panel to recommend three for police superintendent position

Reuters News
Posted: Mar 17, 2016 6:09 AM

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A citizen panel is expected on Thursday to nominate three finalists for Chicago police superintendent as federal officials investigate the use of lethal force.

The nine-member Chicago Police Board is scheduled to vote on three finalists to recommend to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the Chicago Police Board said in a statement.

The names of the finalists and information about them will be made public at the meeting, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. CDT, the board said.

The three finalists are Cedric Alexander, public safety director of DeKalb County, Georgia; Anne Kirkpatrick, retired police chief of Spokane, Washington; and Eugene Williams, Chicago police deputy superintendent, local media reported.

A Chicago Police Board official did not immediately respond to requests seeking confirmation of the reports.

Kirkpatrick is white and Alexander and Williams are black, according to the reports, which is important to critics who have protested police relations with minority communities.

The mayor must choose a new chief from the three, or explain to the board why he is not satisfied with the candidates, and ask the board to reopen the application and screening process.

Former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired in December after the city released a video of a white officer killing a black teenager, sparking protests. The officer now faces trial for murder.

The Justice Department is investigating the department's use of lethal force following the outrage over the death of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old whose shooting death was shown in the videos. McDonald was walking away from police holding a small knife when he was shot 16 times, but police initially said he had lunged at them.

An average of 50 people a year, 74 percent of them black, have been shot, including fatal and non-fatal shootings, by Chicago police over the past eight years.

Chicago is one of many U.S. cities that has been roiled by protests in the past two years over police killings of minorities, a number of them caught on video.

The police board held a series of packed public meetings to get feedback over the search for a new police chief.

Chicago residents expressed concern about racism on the force, the high level of police killings and slow and ineffective discipline of police misconduct.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz and Brendan O'Brien; Additional reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Nick Macfie and Jeffrey Benkoe)