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3 Cops Indicted For Allegedly Covering Up Laquan McDonald Killing

By Stephen Gossett in News on Jun 27, 2017 7:50PM

A still from the Laquan McDonald dashcam video.

Three current or former Chicago cops have been indicted on felony conspiracy charges related to the alleged cover-up following the killing of Laquan McDonald.

Prosecutors announced on Tuesday that Detective David March and patrolmen Joesph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney face charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct.

"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," said Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes in a release.

The indictment accuses the the defendants of lying, falsifying police reports, conspiring to hide the "the true facts of the events," and misrepresenting video evidence of the fatal shooting.

Holmes said:

"The defendants allegedly lied about what occurred and mischaracterized the video recordings so that independent criminal investigators would not learn the truth about the killing and the public would not see the video recordings."

McDonald, 17, was shot 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014 by now-fired officer Jason Van Dyke, who now faces a first-degree murder charge. The video of the shooting was released to the public more than a year later, in November 2015, just ahead of Van Dyke being charged.

Walsh in the police report said McDonald was moving toward Van Dyke while swinging his knife—an account contradicted by the dashcam video.

The release of the video sparked large-scale public protest and, ultimately, a yearlong investigation into the Chicago Police Department by the U.S. Department of Justice. Federal investigators concluded that CPD engaged in a pattern or practice of using force that violates the Constitution and alleged that a "code of silence" is pervasive within the department.