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'Final Punishment' Comes in Laquan McDonald Case

4 Chicago cops are fired for allegedly trying to justify Jason Van Dyke's actions
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2019 7:23 AM CDT
This combination of file photos shows Laquan McDonald and former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. The Chicago Police Board on Thursday, July 18, 2019, fired four police officers for allegedly covering...   (Family Photo, Cook County Sheriff's Office via AP, File)

(Newser) – It's been nearly five years since 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was fatally shot by a Chicago cop, and four cops are just now learning the consequences of their actions in the aftermath of his death. The Chicago Tribune reports three on-the-scene officers have just now been fired for allegedly falsifying police reports or making misleading statements in an attempt to justify Officer Jason Van Dyke's actions, with the "infamous" police dashboard camera video of the shooting apparently playing a key role in the decisions. The Chicago Police Board determined the three painted McDonald as much more threatening than he was: Van Dyke fired 16 shots almost immediately after getting out of his police vehicle. The three "failed in their duty—either by outright lying or by shading the truth," the board said, per NBC News.

The AP has details: Officer Janet Mondragon allegedly falsely said she wasn't a witness to the actual shooting—which lasted roughly 14 seconds—because she was shifting her car's gears at the time. Officer Ricardo Viramontes allegedly said McDonald made movements and even tried to get off the ground after being shot. It was determined Officer Daphne Sebastian didn't file a false report, but reportedly shared a story similar to Viramontes' with investigators. Sgt. Stephen Franko was dismissed for signing off on their reports, as well as another that said Van Dyke was injured by McDonald. The four had been on desk duty since 2016. Van Dyke was convicted of murder late last year. In the Tribune's view, the firings "likely [mark] the final punishment" handed out in the case. (Read more Laquan McDonald stories.)

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