Garry McCarthy is co-star of the acclaimed Sundance reality series Brick City. In his spare time, he's the police chief of Newark, New Jersey. He's also kind of a dick. Now he's in the running to be Chicago's police chief.
Brick City, have you seen it? It is a quality show. It is first-rate documentary-making, at great length. It dramatizes the day-to-day struggles of a poor American city without resorting to sensationalism. There is no other show like it on television. It is the real life version of The Wire. And its PR value for Newark mayor Cory Booker and, by extension, the entire city, is enormous.
It may not be great for Garry McCarthy's career, though. While he's clearly competent and his job is clearly hard-to-impossible, he comes off as prickly, easily offended, and possessing of the classic cop's black-and-white mentality. In Brick City, he's shown helping to shut down a planned unity-promoting Crips vs. Bloods basketball game in the name of public safety; he's shown using all the resources of the police department to protect his own apartment from a group of protesters; and he's shown pursuing a defamation lawsuit against Cory Booker's opponents (against Cory Booker's advice) in the midst of a political campaign because they said bad things about him.
He's the classic entitled white authority figure with a mentality of being constantly besieged! He also has good credentials, as a police chief. He was successful in NYC, he's been successful (relatively) in Newark, and there's no reason to think he'd be any different in Chicago. There's also no reason to think he wouldn't continue acting like an entitled lord of the city. Like the time, in 2005, when he was arrested and convicted of disorderly conduct for trying to get his own daughter out of a ticket for parking in a handicapped spot:
When a pair of plainclothes Parkway police officers issued a ticket, McCarthy's daughter allegedly explained that she had an ankle injury caused by a prior accident and had been issued a placard, but didn't have it with her.
Garry McCarthy was then accused of driving up in a police SUV, blocking the unmarked New Jersey police car and engaging in a shouting match with the plainclothes officer. He was placed in handcuffs and led away as a crowd watched.
He was simply informing those cops of the unwritten rule of tickets! Maybe a police chief who's both successful and likeable is too much to ask. For all I know, the other candidates for the Chicago gig are even pricklier than McCarthy. They just don't have the Sundance Channel around to show it.
Cameras in all police departments, at once!