3 po­lice­men are charged in fatal shoot­ing

Cover-up is al­leged after Chicago of­fi­cer killed teen in 2014.

Los Angeles Times - - THE NATION - By Me­gan Cre­peau Cre­peau writes for the Chicago Tribune.

CHICAGO — Three cur­rent or for­mer Chicago po­lice of­fi­cers were in­dicted Tues­day on charges of con­spir­ing to cover up al­leged wrong­do­ing by Of­fi­cer Jason Van Dyke in the fatal shoot­ing of 17-year-old Laquan McDon­ald.

Det. David March and pa­trol of­fi­cers Joseph Walsh, Van Dyke’s part­ner that night in 2014, and Thomas Gaffney were each charged with con­spir­acy, of­fi­cial mis­con­duct and ob­struc­tion of jus­tice.

“The in­dict­ment makes clear that th­ese de­fen­dants did more than merely obey an un­of­fi­cial ‘code of si­lence’; rather it al­leges that they lied about what oc­curred to pre­vent in­de­pen­dent crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tors from learn­ing the truth,” Pa­tri­cia Brown Holmes, the special pros­e­cu­tor, said in a state­ment.

Po­lice dash­board video of Van Dyke shoot­ing McDon­ald 16 times as the black teenager walked away from po­lice while hold­ing a knife has caused a firestorm of con­tro­versy and led to calls for ma­jor re­forms of the Po­lice De­part­ment. The ac­counts of sev­eral of­fi­cers dif­fered dras­ti­cally from the po­lice video.

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. He is still await­ing trial.

Tues­day’s in­dict­ment charged that March, the lead de­tec­tive, and Walsh and Gaffney made false po­lice re­ports, ig­nored con­trary ev­i­dence and ob­structed jus­tice “to shield” Van Dyke from crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion and pros­e­cu­tion.

All three of­fi­cers cre­ated po­lice re­ports in the hours fol­low­ing McDon­ald’s killing that con­tained false in­for­ma­tion in an at­tempt to pre­vent a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion, the in­dict­ment charged.

Ac­cord­ing to the in­dict­ment, Gaffney, Walsh and Van Dyke sub­mit­ted “vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal” po­lice re­ports con­tain­ing in­for­ma­tion they knew to be false.

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