Chicago Police Officers Suspended for Faulty Dashcams during 2014 Shooting


Four Chicago police officers were suspended for not having properly functioning dashboard cameras during the 2014 shooting death of a black teenager by a white officer that sparked protests and led to the ouster of the city’s police chief, officials said.

The officers’ suspensions were disclosed Wednesday in a quarterly report issued by Chicago’s Office of the Inspector General, which noted that the city’s police superintendent “issued one week suspensions for each of the four individuals.” A police department spokesman confirmed the suspensions.

The officers were not named in the report.

Video footage of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times by officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014 was released over a year later, sparking protests and pushing the city into a national debate over police use of force, particularly in minority communities.

Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty to murder and is awaiting trial.

The five-day suspensions were confirmed by Chicago Police Department spokesman Frank Giancamilli on Thursday, who said they were handed down to officers for improper operation of their dashboard cameras.

It was not immediately known if the officers had served their suspensions, Giancamilli said.

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice released last Friday found widespread misconduct within the police department, including excessive use of force and investigations into officer actions were often thwarted by a code of silence among officers or improperly carried out.

The Office of the Inspector General previously recommended 11 of 15 officers involved in the McDonald incident be discharged.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson allowed five of the 11 officers to resign or retire and disagreed with the inspector general’s disciplinary recommendation for another officer.

In August, Johnson recommended that Van Dyke, along with four other officers, be fired. Their discharges are pending before the Police Board.

The police reports on the 2014 shooting conflicted with video footage of the incident, sparking accusations Van Dyke’s fellow officers were trying to cover up an unjustified shooting.

(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Bernard Orr)

Source: Reuters