Chicago police chief, US attorney resigns after mayor Lori Lightfoot loses re-election

Chicago Superintendent of Police David Brown addresses the media at a press conference at police headquarters, Wednesday, May 26, 2021, regarding the new draft of a police pursuit policy.

CHICAGO — The Chief of the Chicago Police Department and the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois announced their resignations Wednesday, hours after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for re-election.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown will resign effective March 16, Lightfoot said in a statement.

John Lausch, Jr., chief of the U.S. Attorney’s Chicago office, is resigning effective March 11, his office said in a statement.

News of the departure comes after Lightfoot failed to win enough votes in Tuesday’s mayoral election to advance to a runoff in April. None of the nine candidates won a majority in the officially nonpartisan election.

Paul Vallas, 69, former head of Chicago Public Schools, and Brandon Johnson, 46, on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, emerged as the top two voters. Both have said they would replace Brown if elected.

Here’s what you need to know.

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown resigns

Brown informed Lightfoot of the decision on Wednesday, Lightfoot said. He took over as head of the nation’s second-largest municipal police department in April 2020, overseeing the agency amid rising crime at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic and protests following the killing of George Floyd.

First Deputy Eric Carter will be appointed as interim superintendent until the new mayor is sworn in, Lightfoot said. She appealed to the city’s newly formed civilian police oversight body — the Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability — to immediately begin the search for a new superintendent.

In a statement, Lightfoot praised Brown for setting a record two-year illegal gun recoveries leading to a double-digit reduction in violent crime by 2022, establishing a full-time recruiting team that yielded more than 950 new hires, expanding resources for officer welfare and promoting more women to higher ranks.

“I want to personally thank him for his service to our city,” Lightfoot said.

In a statement, Brown said he accepted a job as chief operating officer of Loncar Lyon Jenkins, a personal injury law firm with seven offices in Texas. He said he is stepping down “so that the new mayor can begin the process of hiring the next superintendent as soon as possible.”

Brown will turn 63 in October of this year – the mandatory retirement age for Chicago police officers.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to work with the brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department,” said Brown. “I will continue to pray that all officers return home safely at the end of their service. May the good God bless the city of Chicago and the men and women who serve and protect this great city.”

The Chicago Police Department has about 12,000 sworn officers and has long been plagued by scandal. A Justice Department report released in 2017 found that the CPD is plagued by widespread racial prejudice, excessive use of force, poor training and inadequate oversight of officers accused of misconduct.

Since 2019, the department and city are under a federal consent decree, a court-approved settlement that requires the department to reform training, policies and practices in a number of areas.

John Lausch, US attorney in Chicago, resigns

Lausch announced his departure shortly after news of Brown’s firing late Wednesday. He has held this position since late 2017, when he was appointed by President Donald Trump.

During his tenure, Lausch focused on prosecutions of violent crimes, public corruption, national security, financial fraud and drug trafficking. He led the office during the COVID-19 pandemic and oversaw the criminal prosecution of numerous people alleged to have used the crisis to commit fraud.

He also oversaw multiple racketeering prosecutions of members of organized criminal street gangs and gang factions, as well as illegal gun offenders, and launched a Gun Crimes Prosecution Team and a Gun Trafficking Strike Force.

“It has been the privilege of my life to lead the U.S. law firm in Chicago,” said Lausch.

U.S. First Assistant Attorney Morris “Sonny” Pasqual will assume the position on an acting basis, the firm said in a statement.

What Chicago’s mayoral candidates say

In a statement, mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson said: “The next superintendent of the Chicago Police Department must be as fully committed to the health and safety of all Chicago residents as I am, and to immediately comply with all requirements of the federal authorization decree at the tackling the root causes of crime.”

“As mayor, my preference will be to appoint someone from the current ranks of the ministry, but the most important thing is appointing the right person for the job – someone who is cooperative, competent, compassionate, and who really cares about protecting and serving the people of our city,” Johnson said.

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Contributing: Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chicago Police Chief David Brown to step down March 16

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