The shooting of Laquan McDonald captured headlines when it was caught on tape. A grand jury is now indicting three Chicago policy officers. Felony charges are being brought against the three officers who are alleged to have engaged in a cover-up after the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald in October of 2014.
Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was the shooter highlighted in the video. Van Dyke is seen shooting the 17-year-old Laquan McDonald over a dozen times in a video that drew national attention and outrage. It wasn’t for another year after the shooting, however, that a court demanded the infamous dashcam video by unveiled to the public.
Officer Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the wake of the on-tape fatal shooting of the young Chicago teenager. The public and legal authorities were nonetheless troubled when the Chicago Police Department seemed to tell a radically different version of events than what the video apparently showed.
The very recent Cook County grand jury indictment alleges that three officers on the scene of the fatal shooting that October night in 2014 actively concealed evidence and misdirected attention in the subsequent police report on the fatal shooting. The grand jury’s indictment picked these three officers because they supposedly went far beyond simply subscribing to the code of silence that prevails among some police departments in the aftermath of a complicated case.
Police officers David March, Thomas Gaffney, and Joseph Walsh is each alleged to have misdirecting evidence and thwarting an independent criminal investigation from taking place. The grand jury asserts that the three officers knew that public scrutiny of the dashcam video would be problematic for the Chicago Police Department. The three officers are further being accused of conspiring with each other and preventing other law enforcement authorities from taking a hard look at the evidence for and against Officer Van Dyke’s conduct.
The three police officers indicted by the grand jury are being hit with three felony counts. Two have already been alluded to – conspiracy and obstruction of justice. The third charge is for official misconduct and indicts the officers for willfully obfuscating the evidence. In the meantime, the three officers are not being held in custody. That said, each is expected to appear at an arraignment in about two weeks.
Two of the three indicted Chicago police officers are no longer hired by the Chicago Police Department.