Updated: Aug 8, 2019
Three Chicago police officers and a police sergeant have been fired for covering up for Jason Van Dyke after he fatally shot Laquan McDonald, the Police Board said Thursday night.
Sgt. Stephen Franko, and officers Janet Mondragon, Daphne Sebastian and Ricardo Viramontes have been discharged.
Franko, as a supervisor, approved police reports that “contained several demonstrable and known falsehoods,” including that Officer Van Dyke was injured by McDonald.
The three officers were all present when McDonald was killed by 16 shots fired by Van Dyke in October, 2014. All three, the board found, “failed in their duty–either by outright lying or by shading the truth.”
Viramontes and Mondragon violated the department’s Rule 14, which prohibits officers from making willful or material false statements.
All three officers violated the departments Rules 2 and 3, which requires officers to make complete and accurate accounting of what they see on duty.
“Here, all three patrol officers violated that duty by describing the alleged threat posed by Mr. McDonald in an exaggerated way, while omitting relevant facts that support the opposite conclusion,” the board wrote.
The board voted 9-0 to dismiss Franko, Mondragon and Viramontes. The board voted 8-1 to discharge Sebastian.
In his dissent, board member John O’Malley wrote, “I find that there is insufficient evidence that the statements Officer Sebastian made to Detective [David] March and to the Independent Police Review Authority were false, misleading, inaccurate, or inconsistent.”
As for Van Dyke, he remains suspended without pay.
A hearing on the charges against Van Dyke has not been held due to his October 8, 2018, conviction for second-degree murder and aggravated battery in McDonald’s death. As a result of his conviction, he has been decertified as a law enforcement officer by the State of Illinois.
Police Supt. Eddie Johnson has filed new charges seeking Van Dyke’s discharge from the Department because he has been decertified.
In February Van Dyke was attacked and beaten shortly after his arrival at a prison in Danbury, Conn. He was later transferred to another institution.
A Cook County judge acquitted three other officers in January of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct charges in the case.