Three officers and a sergeant accused of lying to cover up the fatal shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald by fellow Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke have been fired, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The police board decision comes nearly five years after Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times in an episode that stoked the city’s racial tensions and widened the divide between communities of color and police. The nine-member board voted unanimously Thursday evening to fire officers Janet Mondragon and Ricardo Viramontes and Sgt. Stephen Franko for making false statements to justify McDonald’s shooting. All but one member voted to fire officer Daphne Sebastian based on several violations of department rules, though she was not found to have made false statements. The firings, which can be appealed through a lawsuit, are the latest fallout from McDonald’s death and likely the final punishment to be handed out in the case. Three other officers were acquitted by a judge in January of felony charges that they conspired to protect Van Dyke from punishment.
Van Dyke was sentenced to a six-year, nine-month prison term after a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. In 2016, Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson filed charges against the four cops who were fired Thursday, accusing them of either giving or approving knowingly false statements to exaggerate the threat posed by McDonald and have his shooting deemed justified. None of the four was charged criminally, though their police powers had been stripped since Johnson’s charges, and they were assigned to desk duty as the police board case proceeded.