Three More Chicago Cops Charged for Cover Up in Laquan McDonald Fatal Shooting Death

Justice is getting closer and closer to being served in the case of the Laquan McDonald fatal shooting. It was recently reported by DNAinfo that a grand jury was prompted to indict three Chicago police officers for the part they played in 17-year-old Laquan’s October 2014 murder.

The grand jury’s decision is a strike against the “code of silence” illegally upheld by the Chicago Police Department. The officers in question have been charged with conspiracy, obstruction, and misconduct.

The CPD officers are Joseph Walsh (48), Thomas Gaffney (43), and Detective David March (58) – and all of them are facing charges for trying to cover up evidence of what really happened between McDonald and his shooter, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke that October night. Patricia Brown Holmes, the prosecutor for the case, announced the officers’ indictment on Tuesday (June 27), citing that the officers broke protocol in a number of ways, including lying and purposely deceiving investigators.

“It is unacceptable to obey an unofficial code of silence,” Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes stated at a news conference. “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.”

Among other things, the indictment says that Gaffney, Walsh, March, and an unnamed fourth person referred to as “Individual A,” all came together following the shooting in efforts to “conceal the truth facts of the events surrounding the killing of LaQuan [sic] McDonald… to shield their fellow officer (identified only as Individual A) from criminal investigation and prosecution.”

As a result, each of the men involved are facing felony charges for their roles in the alleged cover up revolving around this controversial homicide case.

CNN reports that Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke (39) has been indicted on 16 new charges, not including the six counts of first-degree murder charges he is currently facing. These new charges, as well as the charges he had already accrued, are Dyke’s consequences for the part he played in the fatal shooting death of the teenager.

Van Dyke is currently out free on bond for charges of first-degree murder, official misconduct, and aggravated battery.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson moved to fire seven officers involved in the cover up of McDonald’s shooting and its aftermath last fall, including Van Dyke.

On the night of October 20, 2014, it had been reported that the teen was seen stealing truck radios and was armed with a 3-inch blade. Chicago officers called for a Taser via a radio request. Alongside his partner, Van Dyke responded to the call, but did not indicate that they had a Taser. Van Dyke arrived on the scene, and less than 30 seconds later, opened fire on McDonald, shooting him about six seconds after exiting the car. Within 14-15 seconds, Van Dyke had fired 16 rounds into McDonald’s body, emptying his clip.

McDonald was pronounced dead at 10:42 pm.

Initial reports from police about the incident implicated McDonald as the aggressor and caused police supervisors to rule the case as a justifiable homicide, within the parameters of the police’s use of force guidelines. The reports left out how many times McDonald was shot and painted McDonald as “crazed” before he lunged at the police, refusing to put down his knife. Van Dyke told investigators that he feared for his life.

Video recordings of the shooting told a different story. In the footage, officers confronted McDonald. When they did, McDonald used his knife to slice one of the tires of a patrol car and its windshield. Verbal instructions were given, but McDonald ultimately decided to walk away from police. That is when officers requested Taser backup.

Shortly after, Van Dyke can be seen in the footage, advancing on McDonald while McDonald was still walking away with his back turned away from the officer. The first shot was fired in that instant. After that first shot, McDonald spun around and fell to the ground. Even though he lay on the ground wounded, Van Dyke continued to fire shots into him, culminating with a total of 16 bullets into McDonald’s body.

After being released because of a court order in November 2015, the footage of McDonald’s unjust death sparked public and media outrage, as well as citywide protests.

The officers charged with the shooting cover-up are expected to report to their arraignment on July 10.

Photo Credit: iStock

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.