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Laquan McDonald case: 3 Chicago police officers indicted

28 June, 2017, 02:47 | Author: Roger Davidson
  • Laquan McDonald case: 3 Chicago police officers indicted

A Chicago grand jury has indicted three police officers on conspiracy charges, alleging they interfered with an independent investigation into the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The officers' various actions and inactions were "egregious enough that the grand jury indicted them on three felonies that carry a sentence of three to five years imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000 on each count", Holmes continued. It alleges the three conspired to cover up key aspects of the black teenager's shooting. The inaccurate story stated that McDonald was lunging toward Van Dyke and slashing a knife when he shot him. Other officers back Van Dyke's claim that McDonald, who had a small knife with its blade folded, posed a threat to Van Dyke's life.

McDonald was shot 16 times in October 2014 by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

The prosecutor says Marsh has served the Chicago Police Department for more than 30 years, and Walsh and Gaffney for about 20 years.

The three officers, Thomas Gaffney, David March and Joseph Walsh, were each charged Tuesday, June 27, 2017, with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice.

April 15: The Chicago City Council votes to approve a $5 million settlement with McDonald's family.

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder on the same day in November 2015 that the video was released on the order of a Cook County judge. As McDonald appeared to be walking away from officers, Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times.

Around the country, there are renewed questions whether the legal system is willing to punish officers, particularly after two police officers - one in in Milwaukee and the other in Minnesota - were acquitted and a mistrial was declared in Cincinnati in the shootings of blacks that were captured by video.

December 1: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fires Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy after a public outcry over the handling of the McDonald case.

Boko Haram attacks blamed for deaths in Nigeria, Chad
He also said troops had killed 162 fighters and destroyed six vehicles along with numerous motorcycles often favoured by the group in their raids.

The Chicago Police Board, the independent civilian body that oversees the department, told CNN it has no statement. The investigation was launched in the wake of the McDonald killing. He says that the police force needs "complete and total reform".

Jason Van Dyke is now facing 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, ABC reports.

A scathing Justice Department report released in the final days of the Obama administration concluded that the Chicago Police Department "engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force".

Neslund said he has tried to contact McDonald's mother but has not been successful.

She also noted that her investigation is ongoing.

Among other steps the officers took was to prepare police reports that falsely portrayed themselves as victims of McDonald, according to the indictment says.

"It is unacceptable to obey an unofficial code of silence", said Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes in a press statement.

January 13: The Justice Department announces the findings of its civil rights investigation. It concludes that the pattern was attributable to "systemic deficiencies" within the department and the city, including insufficient training and a failure to hold bad officers accountable for misconduct. The three-count indictment was publicly released Tuesday. The Chicago Police Department called in on the radio requesting a taser, but when Van Dyke and his partner responded to the call, it was never clear whether they had the weapon or not.

Holmes said they also conspired in failing to locate and interview at least three witnesses whose information was inconsistent with the accounts of officers, as well as failing to locate and preserve physical evidence.


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