CHICAGO (CBS) — The process to potentially fire four Chicago police officers accused of trying to cover up the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald gets underway on Monday.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson has sought to fire Sgt. Stephen Franko, Officer Ricardo Viramontes, Officer Daphne Sebastian, and Officer Janet Mondragon. All four are accused of giving false or misleading statements about the circumstances of the shooting.
The disciplinary charges against the four state Franko supervised officers on the scene the night Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shot McDonald 16 times, and Franko signed off on reports that misstated what happened. The other three are accused of lying on police reports about the shooting.
The department also is seeking to fire Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in McDonald’s death.
The charges against him accuse him of violating six departmental rules, including making false or misleading statements about the shooting, failing to inspect his vehicle’s dashboard camera and audio recording equipment on the night of the shooting, and refusing to answer questions from the Chicago Inspector General’s office.
The Chicago Police Board had put all five cases on hold until the end of Van Dyke’s trial. With Van Dyke now awaiting sentencing in January, the board will proceed with cases against the other four officers on Monday, when a hearing officer will schedule evidentiary hearings.
The police board action comes as three other officers await a verdict on felony charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct for allegedly helping cover up the circumstances of the shooting. Former officer Joseph Walsh, Officer Thomas Gaffney, and former detective David March did not testify at their trial. A judge is expected to announce the verdict in their bench trial on Wednesday.
Van Dyke was stripped of his state certification as a police officer after he was convicted, but remains suspended without pay until the police board rules on the department’s move to fire him. His police board hearings have not yet been scheduled.