Did Chicago police erase surveillance footage of Laquan McDonald’s shooting in cover-up effort?

Laquan McDonald
Source: ABC 7 News Chicago screenshot

There was surveillance footage from a nearby Burger King restaurant of the moments before, during, and after 17-year-old Chicago teen Laquan McDonald was gunned down by police officer Jason Van Dyke — until a team of cops visited the restaurant and a large portion of the video mysteriously disappeared, the restaurant manager says.

On Tuesday, Nov. 24, Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the killing of McDonald after shooting him 16 times while responding to a Oct. 20, 2014, call about a man with a knife allegedly vandalizing cars in the area.

The deadly confrontation was captured on Van Dyke’s dashcam and subsequently became the focus of a protracted legal battle that pitted the media against the police, who reasoned that the video’s release would “hamper ongoing investigations.” The matter was finally settled last week when a judge ordered the video to be released by Nov. 25.

Reaction to the video by the public has ranged from downright disgust to calls for the immediate resignation of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, and Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, all of whom are believed to have played a part in the apparent cover-up and delay of the video seeing the light of day.

Now there is word that they may be footage of the incident that the public will never get to see. According to a Burger King district manager, almost 90 minutes of surveillance footage of the incident vanished shortly after a visit from the Chicago Police Department.

Per NBC Chicago:

“After the shooting, according to Jay Darshane, the District Manager for Burger King, four to five police officers wearing blue and white shirts entered the restaurant and asked to view the video and were given the password to the equipment. Three hours later they left, he said.

“The next day, when an investigator from the Independent Police Review Authority asked to view the security footage, it was discovered that the 86 minutes of video was missing.”

Darshane went on to tell NBC that all camera and video equipment were “on and working properly” on the night in question.

“We had no idea they were going to sit there and delete files,” said Darshane. “I mean we were just trying to help the police officers.”

Unsurprisingly, the Independent Police Review Authority issued a statement denying any knowledge of the authorities in question tampering with the footage.

“We have no credible evidence at this time that would cause us to believe CPD purged or erased any surveillance video,” read the IPRA’s statement in part.

Van Dyke, who had previously never been disciplined despite 18 reported complaints against him, is currently being held without bail.

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