The false statements served to ‘mischaracterize the events leading up to the McDonald shooting, and to thereby bolster a false narrative which might offer justification for the shooting’ – IG’s report
Chicago publicly released city watchdog’s investigative reports on the 2014 murder of Black teen Laquan McDonald Wednesday
At least 16 officers were probed in cover-up of Laquan McDonald’s shooting which happened in Oct 2014
17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was black, was fatally shot 16 times by white Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke within 15 seconds
Report found Van Dyke repeatedly made false reports and statements
Investigators also probed conduct of 16 law enforcement officials for their roles in trying to cover up the shooting
In the report Inspector General Joseph Ferguson recommended firing 12 officers, suspending four others for their complicity
Seven cops implicated, resigned or retired before facing discipline
Three other officers – Janet Mondragon, Dahne Sebastian, Ricardo Viramontes, as well as, Sgt. Stephen Franko, were fired by the Chicago Police Board in July
At least 16 officers were probed over the fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014, with investigators recommending 12 cops should be fired.
The city of Chicago released the Inspector General’s report, revealing Jason Van Dyke repeatedly made false reports and other officers helped him cover the murder up by destroying investigator notes.
Van Dyke, a White police officer employed by the Chicago police department, fatally shot McDonald, an African American 17-year-old, a total of 16 times in a matter of 15 seconds in October 2014.
Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder last year and sentenced in January to 81 months in McDonald’s killing.
The report investigates the actions, timeline, and conduct of the 16 law enforcement officials, including Van Dyke, involved in the case.
In the report Inspector General Joseph Ferguson recommended firing 12 officers, including the two highest-ranking on the scene, and suspending four others for their roles in trying to cover up the McDonald shooting.
Accusations of a police hush-up had infuriated protesters yelling ’16 shots and a cover-up’ in the wake of the murder.
Three officers were found not guilty in 2018 of engaging in a cover-up of the events of that evening.
According to the report, Van Dyke submitted false statements in the probe into his conduct to create a ‘false narrative’ that exaggerated the threat McDonald posed to justify his gunfire.
‘Van Dyke’s false reports, false statements, and material omissions all served to exaggerate the threat McDonald posed,’ the report states.
‘Van Dyke failed to cooperate with the OIG’s investigation, after being properly called upon to do so and in direct violation of a superior’s order, by refusing to answer OIG’s questions in his interview,’ it adds.
‘Van Dyke’s statements can be seen as a deliberate attempt to establish the false narrative that a back-pedaling Van Dyke shot an onrushing McDonald in response to McDonald’s potentially deadly knife attack.’
The report adds the false statements served to ‘mischaracterize the events leading up to the McDonald shooting, and to thereby bolster a false narrative which might offer justification for the shooting’.
Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson was one of the few officers spared the firing recommendation.
Seven others mentioned in the report resigned or retired before facing discipline.
Four of the affected officers, Sgt. Stephen Franko, as well as, officers Janet Mondragon Dahne Sebastian, and Ricardo Viramontes, were fired by the Chicago Police Board in July.
However, they have filed lawsuits to fight their terminations.
Video shows white cop shooting black teen SIXTEEN TIMES
‘Wojcik improperly disposed of three original general progress reports containing CPD detectives’ handwritten notes of the statements three civilian witnesses made the night of the shooting,’ Wojcik’s report states.
‘Prior to disposing of the original reports, which disposal he failed to document, Wojcik personally recreated the reports. However, Wojcik did not ask the detectives who had taken the statements to review the recreated reports for accuracy and did not inform them of his recreation of their original reports until several months after CPD officially closed its investigation of the shooting,’ the reports adds.
The report also recommended the firing of another officer at the scene of the shooting named Janet Mondragon. It called her credibility ‘severely limited by her uncooperativeness’.
When questioned by officials she said she didn’t not remember or did not recall about 145 times, according to the report.
She claimed she was looking down and putting her vehicle transmission into park when McDonald was shot. However her gear shift ever was on the steering wheel at the time.
Last year, former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke [photo] was sentenced to serve 81 months in prison for the murder of unarmed 17-year-old Black teen Laquan McDonald in Oct. 2014
City of Chicago releases Inspector General’s reports on police officers accused of covering up Laquan McDonald shooting on Wednesday
It also revealed Sgt. Franko approved false reports submitted by his subordinates and failed to take action when he learned cameras weren’t working.
Reports by CBS say that under his supervision officers also were found to have inserted batteries into their dashcam microphones upside down a trick known to get around effectively using the microphones.
Franko had approved four reports by Van Dyke and Walsh in which they reported McDonald was swinging a knife, which wasn’t true.
The report further found that several officers at the scene failed to make sure their dashboard cameras were working properly and failed to attach the camera’s microphone.
The report said the failure to properly use equipment ‘prevented CPD from collecting potentially important, objective, technology-based evidence of the McDonald shooting.’
Officers Arturo Becerra and Leticia Velez were chastised in the report for failing to notify their supervisors that their dashcam wasn’t working at the start of their shifts.
The report accuses Sgt. Daniel Gallagher of working with Detective David March and Lt. Anthony Wojick to file a false report on the shooting days before it was finally submitted that alleged McDonald was swinging his knife aggressively towards Van Dyke, when in reality he wasn’t.
The findings also recommended firing Deputy Chief David McNaughton, who was the ranking officer on the scene after the shooting, for approving false statements by Van Dyke and two others in the shooting.
He checked a box in the case’s tactical response report stating he concluded the shooting was justified instead of ticking off that ‘further investigation is required’.
‘McNaughton’s creation and endorsement of those false statements all served to establish a false narrative that McDonald initiated an attack on Van Dyke and Walsh,’ the report said.
In the 2014 shooting cops responded to reports of McDonald carrying a knife and breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard on the city’s south side.
Video of the shooting shows Van Dyke advancing on McDonald. When McDonald walked away from the officer, Van Dyke opened fire. With the first bullet McDonald spun and fell to the ground, still holding the knife. Van Dyke continued to fire into the teenager, setting off 16 rounds and expending the maximum capacity of his 9mm semi-automatic firearm.
However, the report revealed that Van Dyke told investigators McDonald was moving towards him – though video footage to the contrary showed the teen walking away. ‘He’s getting, he’s getting closer to me….He’s still wavin’ the knife st me. I’m thinkin’ he’s going do somethin’ to me…I think he’s going to try and take my life away from me,’ Van Dyke said in a transcript of his questioning included in the report. When investigators asked: ‘And what happens?’ Van Dyke replied: ‘I shoot ’em.’
The over 6,500-page report was made public for the first time on Wednesday and revealed the white cop Jason Van Dyke repeatedly submitted false reports, made false statements and disobeyed orders from supervisors during the shooting investigation. A City Ordinance passed last month gave Chicago’s corporation counsel the power to release any reports by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson for cases involving deaths and police officers or city employees. Previously, such reports were kept confidential by law.
Inspector General Joseph Ferguson found that Van Dyke repeatedly lied in the probe to make it seem like McDonald posed a bigger threat
The Fraternal Order of Police have slammed the release of the report calling it a ‘little more than a political witch hunt’.
‘The Fraternal Order of Police has articulated in several instances our strongly-held belief that the Inspector General’s office, particularly under Joe Ferguson, is often little more than a political witch hunt of our members, none more so than the manner by which his office generated criminal indictments of the three officers in connection with the Laquan McDonald shooting.
Those officers, tried by special prosecutor Patricia Holmes, were acquitted,’ the union said in a statement last month.’