Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has selected former U.S. Marshal John O’Malley as the new deputy mayor for public safety on Wednesday, reports the Chicago Tribune. The pick has sparked criticism about O’Malley’s lack of experience and past decisions with his time on the city’s police disciplinary panel. O’Malley, who also has served on the Chicago Police Board, sided with officers accused of misconduct in high profile cases on multiple occasions, including the killing of Laquan McDonald’s murder. Officer Brandon Ternand was cleared in that case.
Deputy mayors of public safety have appeared in several other cities, including Washington, D.C., tasked with the role of role of providing guidance, direction, support to the public safety agencies and leading interagency public safety initiatives. Lightfoot said the deputy mayor would be in charge of violence reduction, but critics note that O’Malley has little experience with this. As a U.S. Marshall, he focused on management of federal prisons and protecting government witnesses, not combatting street violence. In July 2019, O’Malley was the lone vote against firing Daphne Sebastian, a cop involved in the alleged cover up of McDonald’s murder case. Lightfoot’s office did not answer questions about O’Malley’s police board record.