Chicago’s top cop is calling for the firing of five officers involved in the 2014 shooting of a Laquan McDonald ― including Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly shooting the black teenager 16 times as he walked away from police.
In charges filed on Tuesday with the Police Board against the five officers, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson alleged the officers broke multiple CPD rules and recommended they be terminated.
In Chicago, the police superintendent cannot fire officers for misconduct without overview from the Police Board, which oversees certain disciplinary issues with the CPD.
The five officers who face firing from the department represent just half of the original number the city’s inspector general recommended be terminated following an investigation. Two of the officers, including one who approved the report containing the allegedly falsified police accounts, have since retired.
Less than two weeks ago, Johnson said seven of the eight remaining officers should be fired. On Tuesday, he did not elaborate as to why he was now calling for the termination of just five: Van Dyke, Sgt. Stephen Franko, Police Officer Janet Mondragon, Police Officer Daphne Sebastian and Police Officer Ricardo Viramontes.
Van Dyke is the officer who city prosecutors determined was on the scene less than 30 seconds before opening fire on 17-year-old McDonald. Van Dyke and his colleagues may contest their calls for termination when their case goes before the police board in September.
It took more than a year from the date of McDonald’s shooting on Chicago’s South Side for the city to release dashcam footage of the incident. The video contradicted multiple claims by police, include the false claim that McDonald was lunging at police with a knife when Van Dyke opened fire.
Critics and police reform advocates viewed City Hall’s fight to keep the video under wraps as a cover up by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez’s lag in bringing charges against Van Dyke further prompted questions about a too-close relationship between the prosecutor’s office and the police. Emanuel fired then-top cop Garry McCarthy after the scandal, while Alvarez was unseated in her bid for re-election.