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Some Cops Under Scrutiny In Laquan McDonald Case Could Possibly Return To Jobs

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 12, 2017 10:18PM

A still from the Laquan McDonald dashcam video.

Four cops who are suspended over their involvement in the Laquan McDonald shooting case could eventually be put back on the Chicago Police Department payroll after the Police Board voted on Monday to push back disciplinary proceedings against the officers, according to the Tribune.

The four officers were suspended without pay last summer for their role in the followup to the shooting. The officers are alleged to have signed off on reports that stated the 17-year-old was moving toward police when Jason Van Dyke shot and killed him. Van Dyke was fired and is awaiting trial for murder. Supt. Eddie Johnson recommended the firing of the other four officers.

Lawyers, for both the prosecution and defense, lobbied the Board to delay the proceedings until after Van Dyke's trial. Any statements made by the police in the course of a disciplinary investigation could have been used in the murder trial—which attorneys worried could influence the outcome. The cops could be fired for not answering questions in such an investigation.

It's unclear whether CPD will allow the four officers in question back. Police spokesperson Anthony Guglielmi over the weekend rejected the idea that any of them would at least go back on active patrol. “Termination charges were filed by the Superintendent, nothing has materially changed and we have no intentions of returning these officers to the street,” Guglielmi said in a statement on Sunday.

McDonald was shot 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014. The video of the shooting wasn't released to the public until more than a year later, in November 2015, immediately prior to Van Dyke being charged. The video sparked a massive wave of public protest and ultimately a yearlong investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice. The bombshell results of that federal probe found that the Chicago Police Department engaged in a pattern or practice of using force—including use of deadly force—that violates the Constitution.

A judge ruled in May against a petition to dismiss murder charges against Van Dyke. His attorney, Daniel Herbert, argued that his client's actions constituted "business as usual" in terms of use of force, since McDonald was allegedly carrying a knife.