Did Police Chief Garry McCarthy Disrespect the Chatham Community?

Did Police Chief Garry McCarthy Disrespect the Chatham Community?

Update: Per GCA Officer Leslie Honore the Superintendent called the president Roosevelt Vonil and apologized for not being in attendance.

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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  • Y'all had a meeting? I have lived in or near Chatham for the greater part of my life and have no knowledge of any community organization in it at all. I know there is some Avalon, Chatham, Grand Crossing business organization, but I have no idea what they do, when or where they might meet or what they talk about.

    The Greater Chatham Alliance, you say. Never heard of you. And I grew up in West Chesterfield and currently live in Chatham and I have lived in Park Manor. I guess I ain't the type of person y'all is looking for.

  • In reply to B K Ray:

    Here is a list of community organizations in the 6th ward. Get connected.
    Englewood Collaberative Council (67th State to 75th Racine)

    Park Manor Neighbors Community Council (69th State to 79th Cottage Grove)
    Meeting : First Monday each month St. Columbanus 71st Calumet 6:30pm

    Greater Chatham Alliance (formerly WIM) (79th State to 87th King Drive)
    773-483-6398 email: gcahonor@sbcglobal.net
    Meeting: Third Saturday each month St. James Lutheran Church 8000 S Michigan 11:00 am

    Chatham Avalon Community Council (75th State to 87th Cottage Grove)
    866-272-1215 website:http://www.capcc.org/
    Meeting: Second Monday each month Northern Trust Bank 7800 S State 6:30pm

    Chesterfield Community Council (87th State to 95th Cottage Grove)
    773-651-3958 website: http://www.chesterfieldcommunitycouncil.org/
    Meeting: Third Tuesday each month Tuley Park Fieldhouse 501 E 90th St. 6:30 pm

    West Chesterfield Community Association 91st State- 95th King Drive)
    Meeting: First Monday each month 9351 S Michigan 6:00pm

    Roseland Heights Community Association
    773-468-5181 e-mail niksmif@hotmail.com
    website: http://www.neighborhoodlink.com/Roseland_Heights/home
    Meeting: Fourth Tuesday of each month Wesley United Church 201 E.95th st 7pm

    Please verify times and meeting places because they can change.

  • In reply to Worlee:

    That's okay. Thank you for not asking though. I already feel unwelcome.

  • Update: Per GCA Officer Leslie Honore , Superintendent McCarthy has called the Roosevelt Vonil, President of GCA and apologized for not being in attendance.

    Also, here is an account of the meeting from another media source.
    "From the Chicago Independent Bulletin noted the attendance of over 500 to this event:
    6th Ward residents are still wondering what happened last Saturday, August 20...City Police Chief Garry McCarthy was a disappointing no-show at a community meeting at Carter Temple CME Church, 7841 S. Wabash...it was held to discuss local crime and the top cop’s plans to combat the problem; and was sponsored by the Greater Chatham Alliance, who angrily pointed out: “Over 500 people were seated! The alderman is there! The new 6th District Commander is there! But the superintendent didn’t show up. This meeting was booked two months ago!” Not good..."

  • In reply to Worlee:

    Here is Tribune columnist Eric Zorn account of what happened.

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    BK...where do you live (approximate intersection). GCA has put out flyers on all non-gated residences within 79th to 83rd, State & King drive, and posisble more than that.

    If you've been in Chatham most of your life, what organizations did you hear about growing up?

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