Chicago Police Department Superintendent resigns after Mayor Lori Lightfoot is defeated

CHICAGO — David O. Brown, the embattled superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, announced his resignation on Wednesday after Mayor Lori Lightfoot was on the heels in a mayoral race dominated by voter concerns about public safety.

Superintendent Brown’s resignation takes effect March 16.

After Ms Lightfoot lost her bid for a second term on Tuesday, the speedy departure of her handpicked police commissioner was all but certain. Both mayoral candidates running the April 4 runoff, Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson, had said they intended to fire Mr. Brown if he was elected.

In a statement, Mr. Brown said he has accepted a position as chief operating officer for a personal injury law firm in Texas.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the courageous men and women of the Chicago Police Department,” he said. “I will continue to pray that all officers return safely to their families at the end of their shift. May the Lord bless the city of Chicago and the men and women who serve and protect this great city.”

Ms Lightfoot commended the superintendent for his department’s work in recovering illegal guns and reducing violent crime and for hiring 950 new hires for the department in 2022. Eric Carter, the first assistant superintendent, will serve as interim superintendent until A new mayor will be sworn into office in May, Ms. Lightfoot said.

Superintendent Brown, a former chief of the Dallas Police Department, was hired by Ms. Lightfoot in April 2020 to lead the Chicago Police Department. At the time, he was hailed as a reformer who had increased transparency and diversity in the department and initiated a de-escalation in officer training.

He rose to national prominence for leading the Dallas department during a tragedy that rocked the country: In 2016, a black man intent on killing white officials fatally shot five police officers in downtown Dallas while the country was mourning the deaths of two black Men was shaken by police in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Asked how he would bridge the gap between the two fraternities — black and blue — Superintendent Brown told a news conference at the time, “I’ve been black for a long time, so it’s not a big bridge for me.”

When Mr. Brown arrived in Chicago, the coronavirus pandemic had just begun, and a crime wave that would sweep the nation was sweeping the city.

But he soon came under fire for his handling of protests, looting and civil unrest in Chicago in the summer of 2020 following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Joseph Ferguson, the city’s inspector general at the time, released a report in 2021 detailing the flaws in Superintendent Brown’s response and blaming the city’s officials for “poor coordination, inconsistency and confusion” that left police “outflanked, inadequately equipped.” and was unprepared for the scale of the protests and riots they faced in downtown and in the boroughs of Chicago.”

Under Superintendent Brown, Chicago homicides rose to generational highs. He has also endured complaints from rank and file officials, who often said they were exhausted and understaffed, and the pace of retirements has accelerated in recent years.

Rev. Ira Acree, a pastor in a Chicago West Side neighborhood hit hard by gun violence, said he viewed Mr. Brown as a competent law enforcement officer.

“However, I think he was overwhelmed,” he said, noting that Mr. Brown had just started his job when the pandemic and the rise in national crime hit. “He didn’t have the level of familiarity needed to inspire a police department that already had low morale.”

Ms. Lightfoot said during her campaign that she intended to keep Superintendent Brown in office if she were re-elected, but there were signs he would be leaving whether or not the mayor was re-elected: The Chicago Sun-Times reported last month that Mr. Brown would have reached the department’s mandatory retirement age of 63 in October. Chicago Police Department Superintendent resigns after Mayor Lori Lightfoot is defeated

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