Three Chicago police officers indicted in Laquan McDonald case

Share

Three current of former Chicago police officers are indicted on charges of conspiring to cover up alleged wrongdoing by Officer Jason Van Dyke in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The Cook County grand jury indictment alleges that the three officers - David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney - were at the scene of the killing and worked together to hide crucial facts in the initial police report.

"The indictment makes clear that these defendants did more than merely obey an unofficial 'code of silence, '" Special Prosecutor Patricia Holmes Brown said in a statement. She says "they lied" to prevent investigators "from learning the truth".

The indictment alleges that the three "current or former" officers - identified as Detective David March and Patrol Officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney - gave false reports and information, failed to correct false information, and failed to locate and interview three witnesses to the shooting, whose accounts contradicted their false reports.

Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer in October 2014.

In the city of Chicago, police officers are rarely charged with murder.

After the officers were indicted, Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said the department would continue to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Stay on topic - This helps keep the thread focused on the discussion at hand. A video of the shooting, released in 2015, sparked days of protests and thrust Chicago into a national debate over the use of excessive force by police against minorities.

March, Walsh and Gaffney conspired to hide the true facts surrounding McDonald's killing in order to protect their fellow officer from criminal investigation and prosecution, the indictment said.

According to the department, Walsh, who was Van Dyke's partner, and March, a detective, have left the force.

Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said in a statement that the FOP was aware of the charges, but declined to comment further.

Gaffney, 43; March, 58; and Walsh, 48, are accused of writing incident reports that "contained important false information in an attempt to prevent or shape any criminal investigation".

The arraignment is July 10, where the men will enter pleas.

"Investigating and charging police officers with crimes relating to their duties is a sobering responsibility", Holmes said at a news conference detailing the charges.

Share