FOX 32 NEWS - Chicago’s Police Superintendent has moved to fire five officers involved in the Laquan McDonald shooting case.
Officer Jason Van Dyke and the other four officers are accused of falsifying their reports about what happened the night Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times and killed him, suggesting the officers were involved in a cover up.
“Without a doubt I think it was an intentional cover up by the Chicago Police Department by those particular officers,” said community activist Will Calloway.
The case highlighted what critics and activists have called the code of silence in the police department that protects officers and has resulted in virtually no officer accountability for police involved shootings.
When the McDonald video became public it contradicted what the officers stated in their reports that McDonald came at Van Dyke and another officer with a knife before he was shot.
The head of the Fraternal Order of Police was asked if he believed any of the officers intentionally falsified their reports.
“I would find it very, very difficult to buy into that,” said Dean Angelo Sr., FOP President
Angelo said the disciplinary hearings that will be held before the Police Board will give the public a chance to hear the officers’ side of the story.
“This will be the first time as it progresses, that you will get to hear from individual officers, they will finally get a chance to put forth their message, they will finally get a chance to share where they were and what they saw and what they did,” Angelo said.
Activist Will Calloway, who fought to get the video released, said he's optimistic there will be accountability for the officers involved and that the culture within the department will change.
“They want the community members to speak out against crimes that we see and misconduct that we see by community members, but law enforcement doesn't operate the same, so it comes off as a little hypocritical,” Calloway said.
The initial status hearing for the officers will be held September 19th at the Police Board headquarters. The final decisions will be made during the board’s regular public hearings. The process, though, will take months and if the officers are fired, they can appeal in the court system.