The city of Chicago released documents on Wednesday, saying some local police covered up the illegal 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald. These are reports from city Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, in which he recommended that 16 officers be disciplined for how they handled the investigation. Findings were certainly hard on Jason Van Dyke, the former cop who ended up being convicted of second-degree murder for shooting McDonald.
“Van Dyke’s false reports, false statements, and material omissions all served to exaggerate the threat McDonald posed,” the OIG said (h/t Chicago Sun Times). “Van Dyke failed to cooperate with the OIG’s investigation, after being properly called upon to do so and in direct violation of a superior’s order, by refusing to answer OIG’s questions in his interview.”
The inspector general’s office argued that his statements amid the investigation could be interpreted as a “deliberate attempt” to make it seem like he was backpedaling when McDonald rushed him in a potential knife attack.
The death of this 17-year-old victim didn’t catch national attention until video was released in 2015, showing him moving away from Van Dyke during the gunfire that proved fatal. At Van Dyke’s trial, the defense argued that McDonald was being belligerent and violent that night, and that the defendant credibly believed he and others were in danger. Prosecutors said Van Dyke went overboard in shooting the victim 16 times. In convicting him for second-degree murder, jurors determined that the defendant really did fear for his life but that this fear was unreasonable.
Three other officers were acquitted this year of allegedly covering-up the murder. Van Dyke is currently serving a six-year, nine-month prison sentence.
[Screengrab via Chicago Police Department]