Former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke repeatedly submitted false reports, made false statements and disobeyed orders from supervisors while the Office of the Inspector General was investigating the Laquan McDonald shooting, newly released records from the OIG show.
“Van Dyke’s false reports, false statements, and material omissions all served to exaggerate the threat McDonald posed,” the OIG’s reports state. “Van Dyke failed to cooperate with the OIG’s investigation, after being properly called upon to do so and in direct violation of a superior’s order, by refusing to answer OIG’s questions in his interview.”
“Van Dyke’s statements can be seen as a deliberate attempt to establish the false narrative that a back-pedaling Van Dyke shot an onrushing McDonald in response to McDonald’s potentially deadly knife attack.”
A host of reports and exhibits were released Wednesday by the city relating to the 16 officers the OIG recommended be disciplined for their roles in covering for Van Dyke, who fired the 16 shots that killed the African American teenager in 2014.
Though they were not criminally charged, three other officers and a sergeant who were on scene the night of the shooting were fired earlier this year for allegedly lying to cover up the shooting. They have filed lawsuits fighting their terminations.
The City Council OK’d the release of the reports last month, further allowing for Chicago’s corporation counsel to release Joe Ferguson’s reports whenever they involve “sustained findings regarding conduct that either is associated with a death or is, or may be, a felony as defined in the Illinois Criminal Code and is of a compelling public interest.”
“This ordinance represents a win for transparency and an important step in rebuilding the trust between city government and the residents and communities it serves,” Lightfoot said at the time.
The Fraternal Order of Police, the union representing the CPD’s rank-and-file officers, blasted the reports’ imminent release last month as “little more than a political witch hunt.”
“The Fraternal Order of Police has articulated in several instances our strongly-held belief that the Inspector General’s office, particularly under Joe Ferguson, is often little more than a political witch hunt of our members, none more so than the manner by which his office generated criminal indictments of the three officers in connection with the Laquan McDonald shooting. Those officers, tried by special prosecutor Patricia Holmes, were acquitted,” the union said in a statement last month.
“That the Ethics Committee and the mayor would increase the frequency and magnitude by which cases against the police will be tried in the media, and not in a courtroom, is shocking and disappointing, particularly since the Chicago media itself is so corrupt and so engrained in the anti-police movement.”