- The city of Chicago finally released a long-awaited report from the inspector general on Wednesday, detailing the actions of 16 police officers involved in the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald.
- McDonald was fatally shot by officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. Van Dyke was convicted of murder last year and sentenced to nearly seven years in prison.
- The report repeatedly accuses the officers of violating policies and giving false statements and misleading characterizations “to exaggerate the threat McDonald posed.”
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A long-awaited report from Chicago’s inspector general was finally released, detailing the actions of 16 police officers involved in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
The report was written in 2016 but remained confidential until Wednesday. It recommended discipline for the 16 officers, including firing 11 of them. Ultimately the police department only fired four of the officers.
Former police officer Jason Van Dyke shot the black teenager 16 times in October 2014 as he walked away from police. Some of the shots occurred after McDonald had already hit the ground.
Van Dyke was convicted last year of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery, and sentenced to nearly seven years in prison. Three other officers were criminally charged for covering up the shooting, but were acquitted at trial.
McDonald’s death was one of several police incidents that year that sparked nationwide outrage and shook trust between the African-American community and the city’s police department.
The officers gave false statements ‘to exaggerate the threat McDonald posed’
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot promised to “shine a light” on police misconduct, and said withholding the Inspector General’s office reports “only generates mistrust,” according to the Associated Press.
Most of the details within the report were already publicly known — and had emerged during Van Dyke’s trial — but it summarized the officers’ numerous policy violations in an effort to justify Van Dyke’s use of lethal force.
The report repeatedly accuses the officers of giving false statements and offering misleading characterizations “to exaggerate the threat McDonald posed.”
For instance, the report accused two officers of falsely claiming they heard Van Dyke tell McDonald to drop a weapon, and that McDonald had ignored officers’ directions to stay down. In reality, those officers were not within earshot of the encounter when it was happening, according to the report.
The report also accused former Lt. Anthony Wojcik of improperly disposing of three reports that contained detectives’ handwritten notes documenting witness statements. The report also said Wojcik “personally recreated the reports.”
The report said the inspector general would have recommended Wojcik be fired, but he resigned at the beginning of the 2016 investigation.