Three Chicago police officers were found not guilty on Thursday, January 17, 2019, of conspiring to cover up events related to the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
The officers were accused of coordinating and submitting false reports after officer Jason Van Dyke shot the 16 times in 2014. Thomas Gaffney, Joseph Walsh, and David March stood accused of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct.
Cook County Courthouse Judge Domenica Stephenson ruled that the prosecutors did not meet the burden of proof. The officers were found not guilty on all counts.
All three officers waived their right to a jury trial and instead opted to accept Stephenson’s decision of their case.
A dashcam video that showed McDonald strolling far from Van Dyke before the capturing sparked uproar across the nation. Prosecutors compared the accused’s stories to the dashcam video and state witnesses.
Stephenson stated the evidence did not prove the officers’ answerability beyond a reasonable doubt. The judge questioned why Jose Torres did not instantly tell police what he witnessed. Additionally, the judge stated that the affidavit of officer Dora Fontaine was not aboveboard.
Prosecutors referred to the video of Van Dyke and McDonald and stated that the teen was not a threat, although he wielded a knife. Moreover, he was a minor.
Written by Parris Winfrey
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
ABC 7: 3 Chicago police officers found not guilty of covering up shooting of Laquan McDonald
CNN: Three Chicago police officers found not guilty of cover-up in Laquan McDonald’s shooting death
Vox: Chicago police officers found not guilty of covering up the Laquan McDonald shooting
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