Judge Domenica Stephenson made the official decision on Thursday to acquit the three Chicago police officers accused of covering up the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.
An unfortunate 2014 run in with Officer Jason Van Dyke led to McDonald getting shot 16 times. Dashcam footage showed the 17-year-old being shot at almost as soon as Van Dyke got out of the police SUV. The shooting officer was convicted back in October. However, the case was not completely closed just yet.
Officers Joseph Walsh, Thomas Gaffney, and Detective David March had their own time in court after being accused of helping Van Dyke cover up the second-degree murder. It was believed that the men tried to “hide evidence” by allegedly submitting false reports to avoid a criminal investigation into March’s partner.
Associated Press also reported, “they said the officers falsely claimed that McDonald ignored verbal commands from Van Dyke, that Van Dyke shot McDonald after McDonald aggressively swung a knife at the officers and that he kept shooting the teen because McDonald was trying to get up still armed with the knife.”
Meanwhile, the judge felt, “The evidence [the video] shows just the opposite [ of intentional submission of reports].”
While all three accusers are surely happy to go free, other followers of the case and McDonald’s friends and family feel quite the opposite.
McDonald’s great-uncle Rev. Marvin Hunter said after news of the not guilty verdict, “If you are a police officer you can lie, cheat and steal. To say that these men are not guilty is to say that Jason Van Dyke is not guilty. It is a sad day for America.”
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