The Chicago Police Board voted Thursday to fire a sergeant and three other officers over their alleged cover-up of the murder of Laquan McDonald by CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke.
The board voted unanimously to fire Officers Ricardo Viramontes and Janet Mondragon for their roles in the case, as well as Sgt. Stephen Franko. According to the board, all three officers made false statements, among other violations of department rules, in an attempt to have the shooting of McDonald by Van Dyke deemed as justified.
Officer Daphne Sebastian was also fired, according to the board’s vote, which was posted on the City of Chicago's police discipline website.
Sgt. Franko was charged with violating five different rules and regulations of the Chicago Police Department, including taking action to “impede the department’s efforts to achieve its policy and goals” and “making a false report, written or oral.”
Officers Sebastian and Mondragon also faced charges on five different alleged rules violations, and Officer Viramontes was accused of three violations, including making a false report and "failure to promote the department's efforts to implement its policy or accomplish its goals."
According to the Chicago Tribune, the officers can challenge their dismissals by filing lawsuits in Cook County Circuit court.
Patrick Murray of the Fraternal Order of Police criticized the firings, calling them unfortunate.
"These four people, unfortunately, are getting fired because of what other people did or didn't do," he said. "These police officers did their job."
Other members of the FOP got heated defending the fired officers.
"It will no doubt lead to more violence in the city and quite likely more violence against the police because officers understand by your fuling that an officer can be fired or indicted merely responding to a job," Martin Preib said.
According to the Associated Press, none of the four were charged criminally, but they were stripped of their police powers and assigned to desk duty as their case proceded.
The vote comes nearly five years after former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shot and killed McDonald in Oct. 2014. Van Dyke was later convicted of second-degree murder in the case, and the officer was sentenced to 81 months in prison.
Dashcam video from the night of the shooting shows McDonald walking away from Van Dyke in the moments leading up to the shooting. The officer shot McDonald 16 times, and the release of the video in the case prompted national outrage and a wide-ranging discussion of interactions between police and the public.
Earlier this year, three other police officers, Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Officer Joseph Walsh, and former Detective David March, were found not guilty of obstruction of justice, official misconduct, and conspiracy in the case.
Stay tuned for more details on this developing story.