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CPD Chief Recommends 7 Officers Involved In Laquan McDonald Case Be Fired

By Gwendolyn Purdom in News on Aug 18, 2016 5:45PM

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson is following the recent recommendations of the city's Inspector General, he announced Thursday, and moving to fire seven officers involved in the high-profile Laquan McDonald case.The decision comes about just days after various news outlets reported the retirement of two high-ranking officers was related to the just released Inspector General's report regarding the case. The city's Police Board will make a final determination on Johnson's recommendations.

In the report, made at the December request of the Independent Police Review Authority, the Inspector General advised that at least 10 officers who were connected to the case be severely disciplined or fired. Johnson responded in a statement Thursday saying, in part, that "the officers have been relieved of their police powers prior to the determination of the Police Board. Two of the officers cited in the report have since retired." The department is disputing the firing of the 10th recommended officer, saying "there is insufficient evidence to prove those respective allegations." Jason Van Dyke, the officer who was shown in video footage to have shot 18-year-old McDonald 16 times in 2014, was charged with first-degree murder in 2015.

The vacancies of the two officers who are retiring will be filled by current Deputy Chief Kevin Navarro and Deputy Chief Melissa A. Staples, the department announced in a press release Thursday.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel tweeted a statement of support for Johnson and his department Thursday afternoon. "As the city takes these important steps to hold individuals accountable," Emanuel said, "we must also recommit ourselves to partnering together to rebuild trust between our police department and our residents."

Johnson's response to the report is in line with the department's recent efforts to combat a perception of poor police accountability and corruption in the city. After the department caught heat for their delayed release of video and shifty decisions surrounding the McDonald case, CPD have been quick to share other video (albeit video missing the part where officers actually shot someone) following the recent officer-involved shooting of Paul O'Neal in July and this week's shootout between a carjacking suspect and CPD officers pursuing him.

More transparency could help Johnson avoid the fate of his predecessor, Gary McCarthy, who stepped down in part because of outcry about how the McDonald case was handled. It also could help Johnson get a better picture of the realities of CPD: back in March, he told reporters he'd never seen police misconduct once in his 27 years on the force.