Chicago Crusader staff report
The future of seven officers who are accused of lying to cover up the brutal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald is now in the hands of the Chicago Police Board.
On Thursday, August 19, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said he will move to fire the officers who witnessed fellow shoot McDonald 16 times in October 2014. The officers said McDonald was heading towards them with a knife, but dashcam video contradicted their testimony.
Reverend Jesse Jackson Sr. released a statement praising Johnson for his recommendation to fire the seven officers.
“Supt. Johnson’s decision to seek the firing of seven police officers for lying is a positive step down the long road to healing the battered relationship between the police and the community.”
The case drew national attention after the Chicago police was forced to release the video by a Cook County Judge. The video sparked protests in Chicago, where activists called for the resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Anita Alvarez and then Superintendent Garry McCarthy. Alvarez and McCarthy have since been ousted, but Emanuel is still hanging on to a political career that has been badly damaged by the case.
Many accused Emanuel of suppressing the video while he campaigned in the Black community during his reelection bid for a second term in office.
While Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder, there have been concerns that the officers who watch-
ed him shoot McDonald were also guilty for not stopping the alleged crime.
Johnson has recommended that the Chicago Police Board fire the officers for making a “false report.” Two officers recently left the force. One of them, Deputy Chief David McNaughton, said Van Dyke had used proper force when he killed McDonald. McNaughton wrote that McDonald approached the officers before he was gunned down.
McNaughton retired from the force on Monday, August 15 after the city’s inspector general advised him to fire all 10 officers who had ties to the shooting. News reports say Van Dyke’s partner, Joseph Walsh, is one of the officers that Johnson wants to fire. A female officer who also witnessed the shooting is reportedly not among the seven officers on Johnson’s list for termination.