Sharon Fairley on What Has Changed in the Year Since Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was Convicted of Murdering Laquan McDonald

1 Year After Van Dyke Conviction, How is Chicago Handling Police Misconduct?

It’s been a year since former Chicago Police Office Jason Van Dyke was convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

“A lot of positive steps have been taken since then,” said Sharon Fairley, who has served as chief administrator of both the Independent Police Review Authority and the Civilian Office of Police Accountability. “Oversight agencies are being much more transparent. Use of force data is being published.” 

And yet, she says, there is still a long way to go. Officers accused of unjustified use of deadly force are rarely fired, Fairley said. In a June 2019 Chicago Tribune commentary, Fairley pointed out that many people don’t realize that when COPA recommends an officer be fired for an unjustified use of deadly force, the case moves to the Chicago Police Board, which is the only city entity with the legal power to do so.

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