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Chicago Police Board fires 4 officers for alleged cover-up of fatal shooting of black teenager

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July 19 (UPI) — The Chicago Police Board voted to fire a sergeant and three officers for their alleged roles in covering up the 2014 fatal police shooting of a black teenager.

The board said it voted Thursday for Sgt. Stephen Franko and officers Ricardo Viramontes, Janet Mondragon and Daphne Sebastian to be “discharged from the Chicago Police Department.” The votes were unanimous except Sebastian received one dissenting vote against her ousting from the force.

In its decision, the board said the officers had violated their duty by giving false statements concerning the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was fatally shot on Oct. 20, 2014, by former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

“The police board finds that Sergeant Franko and each of the officers violated important department rules and discharges each of them from the police department,” the board said in its ruling. “Their conduct is antithetical to that expected and required of a sworn law enforcement officer, who at all times has a duty to act with honesty and integrity and to accurately and completely report their observations.”

All four officers were at the scene of the shooting and the board said it particularly found fault with Franko for signing off on police reports that contained “several demonstrable and known falsehoods, including, among other things, that Officer Van Dyke was injured by Laquan McDonald, that Officers Van Dyke and [his partner Officer Joseph] Walsh were victims and that Mr McDonald assaulted and committed battery against them by attacking them with a weapon, using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm.”

The board found the three officers had violated their duty by exaggerating the alleged threat McDonald posed that night while omitting relevant facts in order to support their story of the events.

First Vice President of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Patrick Murray criticized the board’s decision, saying the officers were blameless, the Chicago Tribune reported.

“It is obvious that this police board has out-serviced its usefulness,” he said.

Police had initially said that McDonald had attacked Van Dyke who then shot the teenager 16 times, but dash camera video showed that McDonald was walking away from Van Dyke before he was shot. Following the release of the footage, protests erupted in Chicago.

Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder last year and sentenced to 81 months in prison in January for McDonald’s death. A judge then acquitted three other officers on charges that they attempted to cover up the Van Dyke’s crime.

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