Chicago Police Officers Indicted In Laquan McDonald Case

Chicago Police Officers Indicted In Laquan McDonald Case

Blake Casey
June 28, 2017

Three "current or former" Chicago police officers have been indicted on state felony charges related to the 2014 death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, according to officials.

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.

"Further, the indictment makes clear that these defendants did more than merely obey an unofficial 'code of silence", Holds said in the statement.

FILE - In this October 20, 2014 file image taken from dash-cam video provided by the Chicago Police Department, Laquan McDonald, right, walks down the street moments before being fatally shot by Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke in Chicago.

June 3: Media reports say the city of Chicago and the Justice Department have negotiated a draft agreement that calls for an independent monitor to oversee reforms for the police force, which is the nation's second largest. Van Dyke has since been charged with murder, to which he pleaded not guilty.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson says his department is fully cooperating with prosecutors as the investigation in the fatal shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald continues.

Police initially told a different story, and the Cook County grand jury indictment alleges that 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.

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In the 11-page indictment Van Dyke is referred to as Individual A and as a part of the conspiracy.

Walsh and March were placed on administrative status in December 2015.

March, 58, is a police veteran of more than 30 years and is the detective who prepared the reports on the shooting that indicated it was justified. Kevin Graham, president of the officers' union, said the union has not yet reviewed it and declined to comment because it's an ongoing investigation. It is unclear whether they have attorneys.

May 13: Emanuel announces that he is abolishing the Independent Police Review Authority and replacing it with the Civilian Police Investigative Agency, which will have more independence and resources.

The three charges each carry penalties of three to five years in prison and possible fines up to $25,000.

November 16: A special prosecutor says a grand jury has been impaneled to hear evidence into a possible cover-up by Chicago police officers in the McDonald shooting.

The Chicago Police Department has moved to fire Walsh, who was Van Dyke's partner, the station reports.