The Chicago Police Board has fired a sergeant and three officers over the alleged cover-up of the murder of Laquan McDonald in 2014.
The board voted unanimously to dismiss Sgt. Stephen Franko and officers Janet Mondragon and Ricardo Viramontes. All but one member voted to fire Daphne Sebastian because of violations of department rules. She was not found to have made false reports.
The nine-member board found that the officers exaggerated the threat posed by 17-year-old McDonald in order to justify Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting the teen 16 times. According to the Chicago Tribune, McDonald was high on PCP when he refused police commands to drop a knife as he walked away from police officers.
Franko was accused of approving false police reports stating that McDonald attempted to stab Van Dyke and another officer and had in fact injured Van Dyke.
Mondragon was accused of falsely reporting that she did not see the shooting because she was putting her squad car in park. She was also accused of incompetence for not ensuring the video equipment in her car was operable and recording events.
Viramontes was accused of reporting that McDonald continued to move and tried to get up after being shot, with the knife still in his hand. Even when confronted with composing video evidence, Viramontes maintained his story.
Sebastian was determined to have given misleading and inconsistent statements to investigators that McDonald turned toward Van Dyke and another officer with a knife in a motion toward them.
Jurors convicted Van Dyke of murder last October, and he is currently serving a six-year prison term.
The decision likely marks the final punishment from the case following two historic criminal trials that made Van Dyke the first Chicago police officer in half a century to be convicted of an on-duty murder. However, a judge cleared three other officers, including Van Dyke’s partner, of criminal conspiracy charges in a controversial ruling in January.
A disciplinary investigation by city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s office recommended that 11 officers in all — including Van Dyke, be fired. But six of them — including the two highest-ranking, Deputy Chief David McNaughton and Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy — left the department before Superintendent Eddie Johnson could discipline them.