Chicago cops indicted in Laquan McDonald case

Faith Castro
June 27, 2017

Officer Jason Van Dyke now faces murder charges for the death of the 17-year-old who was holding a knife and at a distance from police when he was shot 16 times in October 2014.

The three officers, Thomas Gaffney, David March and Joseph Walsh, were each charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice. She says "they lied" to prevent investigators "from learning the truth".

The three officers and others conspired immediately after the shooting "to hide the true facts of the events surrounding the killing of LaQuan shield their fellow officer (identified only as Individual A) from criminal investigation and prosecution", the indictment reads. The indictment alleges the defendants conspired in failing to locate, identify and interview at least three witnesses whose information was inconsistent with accounts of CPD members, and also in failing to locate, identify, and preserve physical evidence, including video and photographic evidence.

The officers, the indictment alleges, began to conspire nearly immediately on October 20, 2014, "to hide the true facts of the events surrounding the killing of Laquan McDonald" and "to shield their fellow officer from criminal investigation and prosecution". McDonald was holding a knife at the time, but the video revealed he didn't approach the officers or throw the knife at Van Dyke, though they initially claimed he had.

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Johnson said in a statement in response to the indictments that he is "committed to implementing policies and training to prevent an incident like this from happening again". He also pleaded not guilty to murder in 2015 and is awaiting trial.

A police union spokeswoman declined to comment. Gaffney was one of the officers who had responded to reports that McDonald was slashing tires.

The city concealed police dashcam video of the shooting, amid an investigation by March that initially cleared Van Dyke of any wrongdoing.

Chicago Police last month finalized stricter limits on when officers can use firearms and other force, the latest attempt to reform a department roiled by misconduct and criticism in the wake of McDonald's shooting.

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