Former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who was previously fired by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, announced on Wednesday that he intends to run against Emanuel to be the city's mayor.
The election will be held in February 2019.
McCarthy was fired in December 2015 after it took the department 14 months to release video of the death of Laquan McDonald, who was an unarmed black 17-year-old shot and killed by Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke. It was determined that Van Dyke had shot McDonald 16 times, leading to protests in Chicago.
The case led the City of Chicago to offer a $5 million settlement to the McDonald family, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Van Dyke, who has since been charged with homicide, is still awaiting trial.
McCarthy told the Tribune that he is running as a "conservative Democrat."
“Between the taxes, our economy, the schools and the crime rate here, we’re a laughingstock in America,” McCarthy told the Tribune. “The prevailing thought about Chicago is we’re on our way down in all those areas, and they all infect each other, and nobody seems to get that. It’s almost like a ‘Wake up, Chicago’ moment.”
McCarthy is going up against a relatively popular mayor. According to a poll by Anzalone Liszt Grove Research, Emanuel's approval rating as of January was 51 percent, compared to 40 percent who disapproved. Emanuel is seeking his third term after being President Barack Obama's first Chief of Staff in the White House.
While McCarthy has made it clear that he is not running as revenge against Emanuel, he contends his firing was unjust.
"While I am very emotional, that’s not my motivation here,” he told the Tribune. “Why would I possibly take on turning around one of the largest American cities in the right direction? Because I’m annoyed? No. I’m doing it out of a sense of obligation as a public servant and that’s what motivates me.”
He added that homicide levels dropped to their lowest levels since the 1960s while he was superintendent, but Emanuel's treatment toward police has played a factor in the city's rising homicide count.