CHICAGO (24jan16) 2 police officers who likely lied about the murder of Laquan McDonald may be fired, says Chicago's Interim Police Superintendent John Escalante. Chicago's Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) declared the shooting justified, but we now know that police reports do not tell the same story as videos that were released 13 months later.
The videos might never have seen the light of day but for a request by Brandon Smith via FOIA. When the deadline for his request past, he filed suit and fought for the release of the video and related reports. Murder charges were filed against officer Van Dyke the day before the video was released to the public."Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds and was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire, prosecutors told Judge Donald Panarese at bond court." reported The Chicago Tribune on November 24. 2015.
Smith tells his story at The Guardian.
According to DNAinfo.com, "Detective David Marsh and Officer Joseph Walsh, were placed on desk duty shortly after Escalante received a Dec. 18 memo from city Inspector General Joe Ferguson recommending the move.Walsh was the partner of Officer Jason Van Dyke, who faces first-degree murder charges for shooting Laquan 16 times in 2014."
Van Dyke claims McDonald "shot (sic) a knife at him", and Walsh agreed in a written statement. Detective Marsh signed off on the report.
“If something comes back that they lied or purposely misrepresented what happened on reports, the superintendent wants to make it clear that he will seek their termination,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday.
Chicago's Police Board will have the final say if Superintendent Escalante recommends any firings. Walsh has never been reprimanded in his 17 year career, though he's been accused of misconduct 29 times. The Invisible Institute found that 2 of these ocurred after the Laquan McDonald shooting. They keep a database of records related to police misconduct, with a wealth of information that has only recently been made available:
Last March, in Kalven v. Chicago, the Illinois Appellate Court held that documents bearing on allegations of police abuse are public information. Following the decision, the Emanuel administration adopted a new transparency policy that opened the police department to the people in historic ways. The Kalven decision is limited to closed police misconduct cases; it doesn’t cover ongoing investigations. Yet the public interest in the City's investigation into a police shooting is far more intense at the time of the shooting than one or two years later when the case is closed and public attention has turned elsewhere.