Chicago's Top Cop Resigns After Lightfoot's Loss

David Brown has faced an uphill battle since he became Chicago's top cop in April 2020
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 2, 2023 7:47 AM CST
Chicago's Top Cop Resigns After Lightfoot's Loss
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown is seen during a news conference on May 26, 2020, in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Lori Lightfoot will not be continuing as Chicago's mayor, and now, her police superintendent is right behind her out the exit door. Per WGN-TV, David Brown, who was picked by Lightfoot in April 2020 to head up the Chicago Police Department, submitted his resignation on Wednesday, less than a day after Lightfoot found out she didn't make the runoffs for the April mayoral election. Brown hasn't had an easy go of it since joining the Chicago PD: Despite his pledges to get murders in the city in check and wrangle other challenges, his tenure has instead been marred by an increase in violent crime, a period of civil unrest after the murder of George Floyd, sinking departmental morale, and criticism from Chicago's largest police union and civil rights advocates.

A spokesman for the ACLU calls Brown's time in Chicago "that of a missed opportunity," while civil rights attorney Sheila Bedi tells the Chicago Tribune: "The next superintendent needs to realize that police have to give up some of their power," noting that cops shouldn't be getting involved in traffic stops or school and mental health incidents. Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson, the two mayoral candidates who earned enough votes Tuesday to make it to April's runoff election, had both previously said they'd replace Brown if they became mayor, per NBC Chicago. In Wednesday statements after Brown announced his resignation, both men said they hoped to promote from within the department to fill the now-empty spot. Lightfoot says she's asked the committee in charge of seeking out superintendent candidates to get started on that work.

In a statement, Lightfoot also acknowledged Brown's time with the department. "I accepted his resignation and want to commend him for his accomplishments not just for the department but the entire city," she noted, per WGN. First Deputy Supt. Eric Carter, Brown's No. 2, will lead the department until a new mayor is sworn in and appoints a new superintendent. Brown, meanwhile, whose last day will be March 16, has announced he'll be taking on the COO role at personal injury law firm Loncar Lyon Jenkins, based in his home state of Texas. "It has been an honor and a privilege to work alongside the brave men and women of the Chicago Police Department," he says in a statement. Much more on Brown's time with the department here. (More David Brown stories.)

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