(CHICAGO) — Four Chicago police officers have been fired over their alleged cover-up of the 2014 murder of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald, by former officer Jason Van Dyke.
The Chicago Police Board voted on Thursday to discharge Sgt. Stephen Franko and officers Janet Modragon, Daphne Sebastian and Ricardo Viramontes. They have the right to appeal the decision, which went into effect immediately.
“The department is bound by the decision of the board,” Chicago Police Department spokesman Thomas Ahern told ABC News in a statement Thursday night. “The affected members have further options they may exercise if they so choose.”
The four former officers were accused of making false statements about the shooting, which took place on the night of Oct. 20, 2014. Van Dkye, who fired 16 shots at the 17-year-old McDonald in a span of 15 seconds, was convicted by a jury last year of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
The Chicago Police Board wrote in its findings and decision that Franko “failed to properly supervise his officers” that night, nearly five years ago. The sergeant reviewed and approved “critical case reports” that contained “several demonstrable and known falsehoods,” according to the board.
Meanwhile, Modragon, Sebastian and Viramontes were all present when McDonald was killed. They gave statements that night to a detective and again early the next morning to Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority, according to the board.
“It was their statements that would be used by the investigators to determine whether the fatal shooting of Mr. McDonald was justified — or whether a crime by their fellow officer had been committed,” the board wrote. “As sworn officers, each understood the importance of their statements to that investigation and understood that their statements must be truthful and complete. Each of the three officers failed in their duty — either by outright lying or by shading the truth.”
The Chicago police union, the Fraternal Order of Police, lambasted the board’s ruling, saying it will “no doubt lead to more violence in the city and quite likely more violence against the police.”
“These officers served the citizens of this city with courage, integrity, and adherence to the rule of law,” Martin Preib, second vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, said in a statement. “Too bad you couldn’t do the same.”
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