CHICAGO — Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson called for seven officers to be fired for lying about the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald Thursday, the same day the man who shot McDonald, former Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke, appeared for a status hearing as he awaits trial on murder charges.
Johnson’s move comes only several days after the city’s Inspector General Joe Ferguson delivered a scathing report concerning how the matter was handled internally by the Chicago Police Department. Among Ferguson’s findings: at least five of the seven officers lied in their reports, stating that McDonald was coming at officers in a threatening manner with knife in hand.
Video released a year after McDonald’s death showed he wasn’t threatening Van Dyke before the officer shot him 16 times at close range. The officers’ reports appeared to contradict what can be seen on the video. Van Dyke was later charged with first-degree murder.
Johnson’s desire to fire the seven cops also comes less than a week after Deputy Chief David McNaughton, who signed off on a ruling that said the shooting was justified, resigned. The Sun-Times reports that McNaughton was one of several members of then-superintendent Garry McCarthy’s executive committee who reviewed the video.
Also in that group: former interim superintendent John Escalante, who was then Chief of Detectives. The department announced Monday he was stepping down to take a job as the Chief of Police at Northeastern Illinois University.
In a statement, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said: “As the city takes these important steps to hold individuals accountable, we must also recommit ourselves to partnering together to rebuild trust between our police department and our residents.”
At Thursday’s Chicago Police Board meeting, Board Vice President Ghian Foreman said they are still awaiting the formal charges from Johnson against the officers and any formal action from the board could be months away.
Van Dyke will be back in court September 29.