The Chicago Police Department is prepared to fire seven officers connected to the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald after video evidence proved the officers lied during the investigation.
Superintendent Eddie Johnson said in a statement on Thursday that he believed that seven officers should be fired for filing false reports immediately following the shooting. Johnson made his recommendation after Chicago’s Inspector General Joseph Ferguson issued his final report on the case. It should be noted that in Ferguson’s report, he recommended that 10 officers be fired.
Although Johnson did not name the seven officers to be fired, it is alleged that one of the officers to be fired will be Joseph Walsh, the partner of Officer Van Dyke, who shot Laquan in October of 2014.
Two of the ten officers originally recommended for termination have retired. One of which is Deputy Chief David McNaughton. This means that the 10th officer involved in the shooting will be spared. Chicago Police spokesman Frank Giancamilli commented on this officer.
“With respect to the tenth officer, CPD respectfully disagrees with the OIG’s recommendation for separation and feels that there is insufficient evidence to prove those respective allegations,” Giancamilli said.
Now that Johnson has made his recommendation, it will be taken to the city’s police board, which will then make the final decision. However, the investigation performed by the board may take up to seven months.
Johnson’s announcement has garnered praise from some of Chicago’s most vocal activist groups. Jedidiah Brown, a leader of a group called Chicago Life, protested against the police several times. Now, he is more hopeful that change within the system can occur.
"I think Eddie Johnson gets it,” Brown said. “He gets the crisis that we are in and how to solve it.”
This news comes nearly two years after the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald by Officer Van Dyke. When McDonald was initially killed, Van Dyke claimed that he made erratic advances towards the ten officers with a knife in his hand. When dash cam footage was revealed a year later, it showed Van Dyke shoot at McDonald immediately after exiting his car. McDonald made no threatening advances in the video, and when officials examined the body, they found a pocket knife that was folded up into the handle.
Prosecutors filed first-degree murder charges against Van Dyke, who pleaded not guilty.
(Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)