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Chicago Police Department Moves to Fire Officers for Lying in McDonald Case

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The Chicago Police Department is pursuing the firing of seven officers for giving false information related to the 2014 fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, one of several young black men whose death has fueled the Black Lives Matter movement.

The decision comes three days after Chicago’s inspector general issued a damning report recommending that 10 officers be fired or disciplined in the McDonald case. That report coincided with the retirement Monday of Deputy Chief David McNaughton, who approved the police investigation that cleared the officer who shot and killed McDonald of any wrongdoing.

McNaughton had determined that the officer in question, Jason Van Dyke, acted properly when he shot McDonald 16 times on the night of Oct. 20, 2014. But a video released a year later to the public showed that McDonald, who was holding a knife, was walking away from the officers when Van Dyke began firing, not toward them as McNaughton had written.

Van Dyke, who had already been stripped of his police powers, was charged with murder on the same day the video was released.

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Although the inspector general recommended that 10 officers be fired for violating “Rule 14,” which requires that officers provide truthful statements in police reports, the Chicago Police Department said in a statement Thursday “that there is insufficient evidence to prove” allegations with respect to one officer. Two other officers cited in the IG report have since retired, the Chicago Police Department said, and the other officers have been relieved of their police powers.

The Chicago Police Board, which determines the punishment in police disciplinary cases, will now consider firing the officers in question. Typically, it takes a few months for there to be an evidentiary hearing where the police department and accused officers have a chance to make their case. The board will rule at that hearing as to whether the officers should be fired.