CITY HALL — A biting report issued by the city watchdog on the Laquan McDonald case has landed on the desk of Police Supt. Eddie Johnson and is leading to an apparent department overhaul.
The Sun-Times said Monday that the report, issued by Inspector General Joe Ferguson at the request of Sharon Fairley, head of the Independent Police Review Authority, is sitting on Johnson's desk and has already led to last week's retirement of Deputy Chief David McNaughton.
"We do have the report," Police Department spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed. "It is being reviewed by the department." Guglielmi added that he hadn't yet been briefed on the substance of the report, but pointed out it's standard procedure for the department to get a chance to respond to the inspector general before any final report is released.
Rachel Leven, Ferguson's spokeswoman, said the inspector general's policy is to neither confirm nor deny any ongoing investigation.
According to the story, McNaughton signed off on a police report justifying McDonald's shooting by officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. The story quoted McNaughton as agreeing that "Van Dyke fired his weapon in fear of his life" — a version of events widely derided after the release of the police dashcam video of the shooting late last year.
Van Dyke is facing charges of first-degree murder after shooting McDonald 16 times. No other officer in the area fired a shot.
Guglielmi confirmed that McNaughton had retired, but did not attribute it to Ferguson's McDonald report, calling it "a personal decision."
Instead, Johnson issued a statement saying: "I wish him the very best in his retirement and thank him and his family for the countless numbers of hours, missed holidays and birthdays when he answered the call to help Chicagoans in some of their most difficult moments."
According to the published report, the watchdog recommends that at least 10 officers should face repercussions from their involvement in the shooting and accounts of it made in official reports.
"I don't know that," Guglielmi said.
The report from Ferguson's office was requested by Fairley, but her agency has evidently not seen it.
"Alas, we don’t have the report," IPRA spokeswoman Mia Sissac said. "I look forward to reading it as well."
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