The board found that officers exaggerated the threat 17-year-old Laquan McDonald posed to justify Jason Van Dyke shooting the black teen 16 times.
By Sanjana Karanth |
The Chicago Police Board voted Thursday to fire four officers who are accused of covering up the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager who was shot 16 times by a white police officer.
The nine-member board, which is a police disciplinary agency within the city, announced that Sgt. Stephen Franko and Officers Janet Mondragon, Daphne Sebastian and Ricardo Viramontes would be discharged from the Chicago Police Department.
The board found that the officers exaggerated the threat that 17-year-old McDonald posed in order to justify Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting him 16 times in October 2014. Franko was Van Dyke’s immediate superior, and the three other officers were on the scene when Van Dyke shot McDonald.
In their findings, the board said Franko approved reports that contained several falsehoods, including that McDonald assaulted Van Dyke and the other officers, injuring Van Dyke in the process. Franko also allegedly failed to make sure his officers were using the audio component of their in-car video systems, depriving the police department of a critical information source related to the shooting.
The board found that the remaining three officers “failed in their duty” to provide truthful statements to investigators, “either by outright lying or by shading the truth,” according to the findings.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson filed charges in 2016 with the board, calling for the officers to be fired for making false reports about McDonald’s death. The four accused officers were assigned to desk duty during the Police Board’s case, though none of them were criminally charged. They can challenge their dismissals by filing lawsuits in court, according to the Chicago Tribune.