Three Chicago police officers were indicted today for conspiring to cover up the facts of the fatal police killing of 17 year-old teenager Laquan McDonald. The three officers, David March, Joseph Walsh, and Thomas Gaffney, were indicted on charges of conspiracy, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice. According to officials, the charges reflect the fact that the three officers did not adhere to police codes, but were instead using their own unfair decisions to produce false information, furnish false police reports, failing to report correct information, and not performing their mandatory duties.
Special prosecutor Patricia Brown-Holmes who announced the indictments Tuesday, stated the three officers “did more than merely obey an unofficial code of silence.” She says “they lied” to prevent investigators “from learning the truth.”
In October of 2014, McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago police officer Jason VanDyke. The dashcam footage showed that McDonald was armed with a knife but was not moving toward the responding officers when he was shot 16 times and currently Van Dyck is waiting for his trial and pleaded not guilty.
I’m happy for the indictments even though we all know that indictments are only the first step, and certainly doesn’t mean a conviction. Just the same, so many officers have not even been indicted after unjustifiably killing of our sons, daughters, sisters and brothers that I’m glad that there is at least a chance that these officers, allegedly responsible for illegally attempting to cover up their fellow officers horrible deed, may be forced to take responsibility for their actions. Illegal cover ups are a big part of the reason more officers aren’t indicted when they kill a Black person without justification. I’m cautiously optimistic as both Van Dyke and his conspirators move toward trial.