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Officers involved in Laquan McDonald killing charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice

McDonald was shot 16 times in 2014.

Chicago Tribune Press // Chicago Tribune

Three cops involved in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald have been charged with conspiracy to cover up his killing, according to NBC News.

In October 2014, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke encountered McDonald when he responded to a call that the 17-year-old "punctured a tire on a police car" and was carrying a knife. According to a police report, McDonald didn't "comply" with an order to drop the knife.

He was then shot 16 times.

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder, and police chief Garry F. McCarthy was later fired by the city's mayor, Rahm Emanuel.

Following the release of the incident's dashboard camera footage, protests began, and McDonald's attorney accused the involved officers of witness intimidation.

Now, after special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes' investigation, Detective David March and officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney have been indicted as the leaders of a conspiracy to obstruct justice in the McDonald case.

Holmes said in a statement, "The indictment makes clear that these defendants did more than merely obey an unofficial 'code of silence.' Rather, it alleges that they lied about what occurred to prevent independent criminal investigators from learning the truth."

According to NBC News, "the alleged lies included assertions that McDonald assaulted the three officers, swung a knife at them and, while Van Dyke was shooting him, tried to get off the ground with the knife still in his hand." The three officers submitted "virtually identical" reports on officer injuries. The indictment also alleges that the officers gave false descriptions of video to throw off investigators and block its public release.

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