Three Chicago Cops Indicted In Cover-Up Of Laquan McDonald Murder


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.

Detective 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, who was appointed special prosecutor, said in a statement.

Holmes said the grand jury probe is continuning. She scheduled a 3 p.m. news conference to announce the indictment.

Police dashcam video of Van Dyke shooting the black teen 16 times as he 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 dramatically differed from the dashcam 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. Van Dyke is still awaiting trial.

The 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.

Holmes was appointed last July to investigate whether officers at the scene attempted to cover up or lie to justify Van Dyke’s actions.

March, 58, left the department after a damning report by the city inspector general faulted him for, among other things, falsely telling the Cook County medical examiner’s office that McDonald lunged at Van Dyke.

He told the inspector general that his investigation found that the actions of all the officers were “absolutely proper” and emphasized that department higher-up’s stance on the shooting shifted after the video was released.

March was slated to testify Wednesday at a hearing in Van Dyke’s murder case.

He and the two other officers are now scheduled to be arraigned July 10 on the three criminal counts.

The inspector general found that Walsh, 48, made numerous false statements and material omissions in his interview with police and the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates police shootings.

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

Those reports said that Van Dyke — identified in the indictment as Individual A — was injured by McDonald, who was swinging a knife “in an aggressive manner,” according to the indictment.

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