A strike against the Chicago Police Department’s “code of silence,” has prompted a grand jury to indict three-Chicago Police officers who were a part of 17 year-old Laquan McDonald’s murder back in October 2014, with charges of conspiracy, obstruction, and misconduct, DNAinfo reports.
Patrol officers Joseph Walsh, Thomas Gaffney and Detective David March are facing charges for reportedly trying to cover up the evidence. The prosecutor tasked with the case announced the indictment on Tuesday (June 27), claiming that the three officers who were present at the scene lied, did not interview witnesses, and fooled investigators in efforts to hide what really occurred.
“It is unacceptable to obey an unofficial code of silence,” said Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes in a press statement. “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.”
The indictment states that Gaffney, 43, Walsh 48, and March, 58, and an unnamed fourth suspect identified as “Individual A,” plotted together shortly after the shooting to “conceal the true 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.” Part of the obstruction charges include “mischaracterizing the video recordings,” of the occurrence and lie about what really led to the fatal shooting.
Jason Van Dyke is currently facing 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, ABC reports. In 2015, he was charged with with six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct. Reports state that McDonald had been stealing truck radios and was carrying around a 3-inch blade on Oct. 20, 2014. The Chicago Police Department called in on the radio requesting a taser, but when Van Dyke and his partner responded to the call, it was never clear whether they had the weapon or not.
The officers will reportedly report to arraignment on Monday July 10. If convicted, each of the parties involved can face years in prison.