Three Chicago policemen charged with covering up fatal shooting
28 June, 2017, 02:48 | Author: Brittany Bishop
Three current or former Chicago police officers were charged with multiple felonies Tuesday in connection with their involvement in the investigation into the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.
Patricia Brown Holmes - appointed special prosecutor last July to investigate officers at the scene and involved in the investigation of the shooting - said in a news release that the three - David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney - "coordinated their activities to protect each other and other members of the Chicago Police Department", including by filing false police reports, ignoring contrary evidence and not even attempting to interview keys witnesses.
The three allegedly conspired to try to "prevent or shape" an independent probe of McDonald's shooting on October 20, 2014, at the hands of Officer Jason Van Dyke, reports CBS Chicago. "We will also continue to implement meaningful reforms that build community trust, provide greater training and resources to our dedicated officers, and make Chicago safer".
The defendants are accused of lying repeatedly about what happened and mischaracterizing the video recordings so that investigators would not learn the truth about the killing and the public would not see the video recordings because they knew that the public airing of the shooting details and video "would inexorably lead to a thorough criminal investigation by an independent body and likely criminal charges". In 2015, he was charged with with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct.
But in regard to the investigation of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, a three-count indictment was handed down today charging cops with conspiracy, obstruction and misconduct in regard to the investigation of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.
They also prepared and submitted police reports that portrayed Walsh, Gaffney and Van Dyke as "victims assaulted and battered" by McDonald, according to the indictment filed Tuesday. The indictment refers to that fellow officer only as "Individual A".
Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is white, shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, according to prosecutors.
Video released in 2015 showed white officer Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as the teen was apparently walking away from officers. Kevin Graham, president of the officers' union, said the union has not yet reviewed the indictment and declined to comment because it's an ongoing investigation. They are scheduled to appear at an arraignment on July 10. It is unclear if they have retained attorneys.
The three charges each carry penalties of three to five years in prison and possible fines up to $25,000.
March, 58, and Walsh, 48, were police veterans of more than 30 years and about 20 years, respectively.
A grand jury investigation into the case is continuing, Holmes said.
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