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Chicago police officers indicted in Laquan McDonald case

28 June 2017

Three current or former Chicago police officers were indicted on Tuesday on state felony charges for their roles in attempting to cover up the shooting death of a black teenager by a white officer, prosecutors said.

Patrol officers Joseph Walsh, Thomas Gaffney and Detective David March are facing charges for reportedly trying to cover up the evidence.

The officers' various actions and inactions were "egregious enough that the grand jury indicted them on three felonies that carry a sentence of three to five years imprisonment and fines of up to $25,000 on each count", Holmes continued.

This is a developing story.

A scathing Justice Department report released in the final days of the Obama administration concluded that the Chicago Police Department "engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force". Part of the obstruction charges include "mischaracterizing the video recordings", of the occurrence and lie about what really led to the fatal shooting.

The three allegedly conspired to try to "prevent or shape" an independent probe of McDonald's shooting on October 20, 2014, at the hands of Officer Jason Van Dyke, reports CBS Chicago.

Police dash cam footage showed that McDonald was armed with a knife but not moving toward the responding officers when he was shot.

More than a year passed between the shooting and the indictment against Van Dyke, which came as video of the shooting was released. Van Dyke has since been charged with murder, to which he pleaded not guilty. According to Holmes, March, Walsh and Gaffney, 43, "conspired in the critical early hours and days... to hide the true facts of the events surrounding the killing of Laquan McDonald... to shield their fellow officer from criminal investigation and prosecution".

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March, 58, is a police veteran of more than 30 years.

June 3: Chicago releases hundreds of videos that offer startling glimpses into violent encounters involving police, including the fatal shooting of a robbery suspect speeding toward officers in a van and an incident in which an officer slammed his night stick against a man's head at a party. It also recommends abolishing the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates officer misconduct.

August 18: Superintendent Eddie Johnson says that seven Chicago police officers should be fired for filing false reports in the McDonald shooting.

They also prepared and submitted police reports that portrayed Walsh, Gaffney and Van Dyke as "victims assaulted and battered" by McDonald, according to the indictment filed Tuesday.

According to the department, Walsh, who was Van Dyke's partner, and March, a detective, have left the force.

The officers weren't arrested and will be allowed to show up on their own accord at their arraignment on July 10, Holmes said.

They are also accused of coordinating with one another and attempting to hide the conspiracy from other law enforcement authorities.

Chicago police officers indicted in Laquan McDonald case