Trial Begins for Cops Charged With Covering Up Laquan McDonald's Death
They are the first Chicago officers to face criminal "code of silence" charges.
The trial of former Detective David March and former Officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney of the Chicago Police Department begins today. The men are charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and misconduct in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
They are the first Chicago officers to face criminal "code of silence" charges, and investigators believe the cover-up extends to ranking officers as well.
City Inspector General Joseph Ferguson recommended the firing of Deputy Chief David McNaughton and Chief of Detectives Eugene Roy, asserting that they were a part of an effort to justify the shooting. Both retired before any department decisions were made.
Prosecutors said former Lt. Anthony Wojcik and Sgt. Daniel Gallagher signed off on March's paperwork, therefore making themselves co-conspirators.
Prosecutors allege the officers had a meeting at a South Side detective facility called Area Central and then filled out the police reports. They also note the identical language used in each report, including the "swinging knife" they claim McDonald used in the "battery."
"Those factors are what occurs in every single major crime that occurs in this city," Todd Pugh, a lawyer for Walsh, said. "And it occurs at every single police department in this state and this country. This is not evidence of an agreement. This is typical standard operating procedure of what occurs in the wake of a major crime."
The video, which authorities sat on for over a year, shows that McDonald was not swinging a knife and was shot within seconds of officers arriving.
Assistant Special Prosecutor Brian Watson said at last month's hearing that the trial will focus on "consistently false information that could not have been submitted except for an agreement to write consistently false information."
Gallagher wrote to Wojcik that McDonald "chose his fate" and that VanDyke should be applauded for shooting McDonald, not second-guessed.
Officer Gaffney remains on administrative duty. March and Walsh resigned in 2016. Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in October, is awaiting sentencing in the Rock Island County Jail.
It won't bring Laquan McDonald back but it's a small step in the right direction.
The dash cam footage that proved McDonald was not a threat and that officers lied about McDonald attacking them helped convict Van Dyke and get a $5 million settlement.
Former Chicago Police Commander. Lorenzo Davis, who successfully sued Chicago for his firing because he wouldn't change his findings of unjustified police shootings while working at the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, said before this case, "the average police officer did not fear submitting sloppy, incomplete reports — or false even."
"It gives all police officers pause," said Davis, "If officers are involved in a so-called code of silence, it might end their careers or even result in jail time."
Watch here for coverage of the trial.
Reader Question: Do you think the officers defense of standard operating procedure will stand up in the trial?
Thanks to the AT&T IoT-enabled ndustrial.io system, Lineage was able to reduce its electricity usage by 34% (per item stored) in 78 different warehouses nationwide.
Originally Published by AT&T.
Lineage Logistics ("Lineage"), a leading cold food storage operator, has teamed up with ndustrial.io and AT&T IoT to help keep food safe, save energy and reduce carbon emissions as frozen food makes its way from farms to tables across America.
Obama gives students advice on how to respond when someone questions if they belong.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama visited Motown Museum in Detroit and spoke with Black male students from Wayne State University, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college. Obama's message of encouragement is poignant in a time when the viewpoint of Black males in this country is so negatively skewed.
Atoa Fox and Nehemiah McFarlin were accused of robbing a bank.
In December 2016, two Idaho State University football players were driving through Box Elder County, headed home to California on Christmas break when Utah police arrested and jailed them for allegedly robbing a bank. A crime they didn't commit.
Atoa Fox and Nehemiah McFarlin filed a lawsuit last week alleging false arrest, illegal search and seizure and excessive force.
Anand, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Chief Diversity Officer at Sodexo discusses the importance of companies having an inclusive culture where women can ask for prmotions and not get penalized.
"I hope he will offer a long overdue apology to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson for lying about her in the press," tweeted Rep. Barbara Lee.
Stephanie Dash was appalled by the treatment she received from Deputy Rhonda Casillas while caring for her patient.
Brown was a teen when she said she killed a white man in fear for her life.
A recent ruling in the case of Cyntoia Brown, a victim of sex trafficking sentenced to life for killing a man who picked her up for sex when she was a teen, is sparking outrage. The Tennessee Supreme Court has said Brown must serve at least 51 years in prison before she could be released.
Free Daily Newsletter
We won't share your email with anyone.
"If we can connect well, we can collaborate well, and if we can collaborate well we can innovate well as an organization," says Jones, Global Director of Inclusion and Diversity for Bayer U.S.