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Chicago Police Move To Fire 5 Cops In Laquan McDonald Shooting

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Aug 30, 2016 7:36PM

Jason Van Dyke / Photo: Scott Olson / Getty Images

The Chicago Police Department is seeking to fire five police officers who were involved in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, including Jason Van Dyke, the officer who shot him 16 times and is now facing first degree murder charges.

Police Chief Eddie Johnson filed administrative charges with the Chicago Police Board Tuesday afternoon, according to the Tribune. Van Dyke is pleading not guilty to murder charges. The other officers the city wants to fire are Janet Mondragon, Daphne Sebastian, Ricardo Viramontes and Stephen Franko.

McDonald was fatally shot in 2014, but his shooting did not become national news until November 2015 when a harrowing video of Van Dyke shooting the black teenager 16 times as he walked away from the officer and then fell to the ground, fatally wounded, was released to the public. The shooting has served as a disturbing symbol of police misconduct and a rallying point for the Black Lives Matter movement; the video's release also raised many questions about how seriously the city had taken McDonald's shooting death. Many have questioned why it took the city so long to release the video, and some have suggested that the police officers who witnessed the shooting at the police union were trying to cover up what really happened because their accounts of that night were so different than what the video showed.

At the time of McDonald's fatal shooting in October 2014, Sebastian and Mondragon reported that McDonald was repeatedly ordered to drop the knife he was carrying, and that he waved the knife blade while walking towards Van Dyke and his partner, Officer Joseph Walsh.

Viramontes said in police records that McDonald had turned toward the officers after he was ordered to drop the knife, according to the Tribune. Viramontes also said that Van Dyke shot McDonald multiple times after he fell to the ground because he appeared to be trying to get back up while still holding the knife.

McNaughton wrote in his police report on the incident that Van Dyke complied with Department policy when he fired his weapon because McDonald "while armed with a knife continued to approach and refused all verbal direction."

A report from the city's Inspector General earlier this summer recommended that the city fire 10 officers in total, two of whom have since resigned and one of whom has retired. Earlier this month Johnson suggested he would be moving to fire seven officers.