CHICAGO (AP) — A high-ranking member of the Chicago Police Department who became interim superintendent after video of the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald is leaving the force to become chief of police at an area college, the department said Tuesday.
The announcement about First Deputy Chief John Escalante comes a day after the CPD announced the departure of another high-ranking official, Deputy Chief David McNaughton, who was harshly criticized for deciding the police shooting of McDonald was justified.
Also Tuesday, CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi confirmed that the city’s inspector general had delivered a report on the McDonald shooting, but did not provide details on any conclusions or recommendations contained in the report.
Both Escalante and David McNaughton were key players in the aftermath of the McDonald shooting and November’s court-ordered release of dashboard camera video that sparked protests, prompted federal and local probes, cost then-Superintendent Garry McCarthy his job and led to murder charges against the officer who pulled the trigger.
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Escalante, chief of detectives at the time of the shooting who was promoted to first deputy superintendent the month before the video was released, became interim superintendent in December as part of Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s effort to restore trust in both the department and his own administration. Escalante applied for the job on a permanent basis, but it was given to another high-ranking member of the department, Eddie Johnson.
Escalante, who has been with the department for 30 years, will take over as chief of police at Northeastern Illinois University next month. School president Sharon Hahs said in a statement that Escalante “has a national reputation in the field of law enforcement for his experience, integrity and leadership.”
McNaughton was harshly criticized after the video was released for his “preliminary determination” in a report that said Officer Jason Van Dyke “fired his weapon in fear of his life when the offender while armed with a knife continued to approach and refused all verbal direction.”
In the video, McDonald did not appear to be moving an a way that posed a threat to Van Dyke or other officers, or support accounts by officers that the teenager lunged at them. When the video was released, Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty.
In a prepared statement announcing the retirement of McNaughton after nearly 25 years on the force, Johnson did not mention McNaughton’s role in the McDonald case.
Guglielmi confirmed Tuesday that Johnson and others in the department are reviewing Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s report. He said the department would respond to the report, but didn’t know how long that would take.
Rachel Leven, a spokeswoman for the Inspector General’s office, said its policy on sustained investigations of wrongdoing is to release summaries in the office’s quarterly report — the next of which is due to be released in October.
This story has been corrected to show that McNaughton announcement was Monday, not Tuesday.