Chicago’s police superintendent called today (August 18) for the firing of seven officers connected to the alleged cover-up of Laquan McDonald’s death at the hands of former officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014.
Chicago Police Department spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi announced Superintendent Eddie Johnson’s recommendation to fire the officers for filing false reports. Johnson’s decision came after the city’s inspector general recommended firing ten officers. Via an email to The New York Times, Guglielmi said that two of the officers retired in the aftermath of the shooting, and that the department ”feels that there is insufficient evidence to prove [the eighth officer’s] respective allegations.”
The Chicago Tribune reports that several of the seven officers, whom Johnson has stripped of police powers, were at the scene when the Black 17 year old was killed and filed reports that contradicted the infamous video of the shooting. ”At least one officer said McDonald advanced on officers in a menacing way and swung his knife at them in an ‘aggressive, exaggerated manner,’” wrote the Tribune. ”The video contradicts that claim.”
“Each of these decisions was based on a methodical and substantive review of the facts by both internal and external counsel,” Johnson wrote in an email to his department. Each of the unnamed officers have the opportunity to contest termination before the city’s Police Board.
The fatal shooting of McDonald—and the city’s delayed response to it—inspired both massive actions calling for accountability and allegations of a cover-up extending to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who appoints Police Board members. The shake-up led to the resignation of Garry McCarthy, the previous superintendent, and both the recusal and effective political ousting of State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. Van Dyke, shown on the video shooting McDonald 16 times, awaits trial for murder. Emanuel, accused of cover-up and awaiting the results of the U.S. Department of Justice’s investigation into the Chicago Police Department, pledged to disband the police review authority in favor of a forthcoming civilian oversight board.