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Police board may delay discipline for cops in Laquan McDonald shooting

The fatal shooting in 2014 of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was caught on dashcam video that was released after a local journalist won a court battle. | File photo

Some Chicago Police officers facing firing in connection with the Laquan McDonald shooting might be able to return to work if the Chicago Police Board decides Monday to postpone the disciplinary actions until after officer Jason Van Dyke’s criminal trial.

Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old McDonald.

Four other officers have been suspended without pay and have been recommended for firing for signing reports that said McDonald, holding a knife, was walking toward officers when he was shot 16 times in 2014.

The Chicago Police Board has been asked to postpone its work so the officers’ statements during the internal investigations can’t be used during the criminal trial. Officers must answer questions from internal investigators or face being fired.

Video recordings appear to show McDonald was walking away from the officers when he was shot.

Van Dyke’s attorney, as well as a special prosecutor investigating the behavior of other officers on the scene, are seeking to have disciplinary proceedings put on hold because statements they were required to make during the internal investigation could surface and potentially have a negative impact on Van Dyke’s criminal case.

Van Dyke’s lawyers have cited a legal precedent that prohibits statements made by government employees during internal investigations from being used in criminal proceedings.

Members of the Chicago Police Board and Van Dyke’s attorney did not respond to calls for comment on Sunday.

Van Dyke is suspended without pay and is not seeking to be reinstated to the police force.

The other four officers have argued they should be able to go back to work and earn a paycheck if there is a long delay in the disciplinary process.

A public police board disciplinary hearing to discuss these issues is set for 2 p.m. Monday at 30 N. LaSalle St., Suite 1220.

“Termination charges were filed by the Superintendent, nothing has materially changed and we have no intentions of returning these officers to the street,” police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement issued Sunday.

“We stand firmly behind this decision. As a party to this process, it is inappropriate for CPD to comment or speculate on any actions before the Police Board.”