By Erick Johnson
Four Chicago police officers were fired Thursday, July 18 after they were accused of trying to cover up the Laquan McDonald shooting in 2014.
At its monthly meeting, the Chicago Police Board voted 9-0 to fire Sgt. Stephen Franko, Officers Janet Mondragon, Daphne Sebastian and Ricardo Viramontes. They were accused of either providing or knowingly approving false statements to justify the shooting of McDonald in 2014. McDonald’s killer, former Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke is behind bars after he was convicted of second degree murder in 2018.
During Thursday’s ruling, the room was quiet as the board members raised their hand each time as the violations were read for each police officer. Police Board member Andrea Zopp was absent, but she communicated her vote while on speaker phone. It was in stark contrast to outside of Chicago police headquarters on 35th and Michigan, where about 30 Black Lives Matter protestors demonstrated before a handful of police officers.
In 2016, Police Superintenent Eddie Johnson filed charges against the four officers. They were stripped of their police powers and assigned to desk duty while the Police Board investigated the violations and conducted several hearings to whether to fire the officers.
None of the four officers were charged with criminal wrongdoing. In January, Chicago police officers Joseph Walsh, David Marsh and Thomas Gaffney were acquitted of obstruction of justice and conspiracy charges after they were accused of trying to protect Van Dyke after he shot McDonald 16 times in 2014.