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David Brown Named Chicago Police Superintendent

Crusader Staff Report

David Brown was named Chicago’s new police superintendent on Wednesday, April 1, ending a three-month national search that was narrowed down to three finalists, two of whom were Black.

“David Brown’s track record of integrity, honor and legitimacy exemplifies what it means to be a Chicago Police Officer. Through his nationally-recognized leadership and years of on-the-ground work to create a culture rooted in transparency, accountability and community policing, he will build on our all-hands-on-deck effort to create real, widespread and lasting public safety in our communities,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Thanks to the foundation laid by Charlie Beck coupled with the strength and vision of David Brown, the Chicago Police Department has never been better-equipped to build on its historic crime reductions and reform efforts.”

Sources said Brown, a former police chief who led the Dallas Police Department, was a favorite because of his potential to come to Chicago and rebuild public trust.

Brown headed a big-city department that also dealt with gun-violence problems, but the force wasn’t under a civil-rights consent decree like Chicago.  There was some concern that Brown didn’t know Chicago and its politics. However, many Black residents at a community meeting said they preferred someone who did not come from the inside of the the Chicago Police Department.

Brown succeeds Eddie Johnson, who Lightfoot fired last December after he was accused of lying about an embarrassing incident where he was found slumped over in an SUV near his home.

Black leaders in 2016 lobbied for Johnson in an interview process where Mayor Rahm Emanuel sidestepped the Chicago Police Board and picked him in an effort to restore the trust of the Black community after the LaQuan McDonald shooting.

Brown was among three finalists for the top job. The others included Kristen Ziman, a white woman who headed the police department in Aurora, IL. The other finalist, Ernest Cato, served as deputy chief for the Chicago Police Department.

Ziman recently tested positive for the coronavirus and is leading her suburban department — about the size of one Chicago police district — from her home.

Ziman gained national attention in February, 2019, during a mass shooting in Aurora, where a disgruntled employee killed five co-workers and injured six people, including five police officers, before he was killed by police.

One seasoned candidate who did not make the list of finalists, Sean Malinowski, served as former chief of detectives for the Los Angeles Police Department. He once served as chief of staff to Chicago Interim Police Superintendent Charlie Beck when Beck headed the police force in Los Angeles.

Despite his background working under a consent decree in Los Angeles, Malinoswki reportedly fell out of favor after he campaigned for the job; that turned off some at City Hall.

In January, Malinowski attended a community meeting for input on the next police chief at Trinity United Church of Christ at Princeton Park. He spoke at the meeting and appeared like he was making a pitch for the job.

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