Seven Chicago officers face firing for role in 2014 shooting of teen
By Justin Madden
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Chicago’s police superintendent has recommended that seven officers be fired after they were accused of lying about the details of a black teenager’s fatal shooting by a white officer in 2014, a police spokesman said on Thursday.
The decision comes 22 months after Officer Jason Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder and is on unpaid leave.
The shooting made national headlines and sparked protests after the release of a dashboard video of the incident last fall. The video shows the officer continued to fire after McDonald, 17, fell to the ground.
The Chicago Police Department is under federal investigation over officers’ use of lethal force.
Of 10 officers who were investigated over their roles in the McDonald shooting, seven were accused of making false reports or false statements, police spokesman Frank Giancamilli said in a phone interview on Thursday. The seven were not identified.
Two of the 10 have since retired and “there is insufficient evidence to prove those respective allegations” for the tenth officer, Giancamilli said.
The police reports on the shooting conflicted with video footage of the incident, sparking accusations that Van Dyke’s fellow officers were trying to cover up an unjustified shooting.
The Police Board, whose members are selected by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, must consider Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s recommendation and make the decision on firing the officers.
Johnson’s move came in response to a recent report on the shooting by the city’s inspector general which recommended that the 10 officers be fired, local media reported.
“While I know that this type of action can come with many questions and varying opinions, please know that these decisions were not made lightly,” Johnson wrote to officers, the Chicago Tribune reported. “Each of these decisions was based on a methodical and substantive review of the facts by both internal and external counsel. Each officer will have their right to due process.”
Separately, a special prosecutor is investigating whether the officers lied to justify the shooting death of McDonald and will decide whether to bring criminal charges.
(Editing by Matthew Lewis)