4 Chicago Cops Suspended for Week Over Non Working Dashcams in McDonald Shooting

The city Office of Inspector General, which earlier recommended the firing of 11 Chicago police officers in connection with the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, had proposed suspensions for four additional officers at the scene in 2014, according to its latest report.

The quarterly report from IG Joseph Ferguson’s office, released Wednesday, didn’t identify the four or give a reason for the recommended suspensions.

But a Chicago police spokesman confirmed that police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has handed down one-week suspensions for the officers for failing to ensure the dashboard cameras in their squad cars were operating properly that night.

A video from one dashcam showed Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as he walked away from police with a knife. Fallout from the court-ordered release of the video in November 2015 has rocked the Police Department in the months since. Van Dyke faces first-degree murder charges, and just last week, the U.S. Justice Department issued a scathing report that portrayed the department as flawed from top to bottom, saying officers resort to excessive force too often, are rarely punished for wrongdoing and are poorly trained.

But neither that video nor others released from additional police vehicles at the scene — including those from the four suspended officers — contained discernible audio.

In a story last month, the Tribune reported that documents from the IG’s investigation revealed that office had recommended firing Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy and Deputy Chief David McNaughton in addition to nine lower-ranking officers.

While Johnson moved to fire Van Dyke and four other officers, the records show, he didn’t act on the recommendation to fire Roy or publicly disclose his role, instead letting him quietly step down as he neared the mandatory retirement age. McNaughton, the highest-ranking officer at the scene of McDonald’s shooting, also retired.

Van Dyke and the other four officers — Janet Mondragon, Daphne Sebastian, Ricardo Viramontes and Sgt. Stephen Franko — are fighting their proposed firings before the Chicago Police Board.

The IG documents showed that the Police Department, from beat cops to command-level officials, quickly came to Van Dyke’s defense, even after viewing dashcam video at the scene that contradicted officers’ accounts. Continue Reading

Article Org: chicagotribune.com

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