Chicago Not Releasing Video of Officer-Involved Shooting of a Baby Boy


3 Chicago cops charged with conspiracy in Laquan McDonald case

In a historic move sure to be watched nationwide, three current or former Chicago Police officers are facing criminal charges in an alleged cover-up to protect Officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes on Tuesday announced a three-count grand jury indictment charging patrol officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney and detective David March with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct.

Holmes accused the trio of allegedly filing false accounts of the October 2014 shooting to keep Van Dyke from being accused of any wrongdoing. She also said the three failed to interview witnesses who might have contradicted their faulty version of events.

March, 58, the lead detective in the McDonald case, cleared Van Dyke of wrongdoing, despite dashcam video that appears to show McDonald walking away from Van Dyke when he opened fire and shot the teen 16 times.

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in November 2015 on the day before that video was publicly released.

“This indictment alleges that these defendants lied about what occurred during a police-involved shooting in order to prevent independent criminal investigators from learning the truth,” Holmes said at a press conference. “The indictment makes clear that it is unacceptable to obey an unofficial code of silence.”

The 11-page indictment lays out a conspiracy by March; Walsh, 48, who was Van Dyke’s partner, and Thomas Gaffney, 43, an officer who was one of the first to encounter McDonald the night of October 21, 2014. The indictment refers to Van Dyke as “Individual A,” and also includes other officers, identified as unidentified individuals “B” through “G.”

Questioned by reporters about the prospect of more officers facing charges, Holmes said repeatedly: “The investigation is ongoing.”

Gaffney — who had been on desk duty and was the only one of the three officers charged who had not retired or resigned — was suspended Tuesday after the charges were announced, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said.

Officials from the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, which represents nearly all the department’s rank-and-file police officers, issued a statement saying they will not comment on the ongoing investigation. “At this time, we have not reviewed the indictment and, as general practice, we do not comment on ongoing investigations,” the statement read.

Holmes, a former Cook County judge and federal prosecutor, was appointed special prosecutor 10 months ago at the urging of activists concerned that the criminal investigation of the McDonald shooting would begin and end with the charges against Van Dyke. Joseph McMahon, the Kane County State’s Attorney, has been appointed special prosecutor to handle the murder case against Van Dyke.

The indictment marks the first time CPD officers have been targeted criminally for following an unwritten “code of silence” and for lying to cover for an officer who committed alleged on-the-job misconduct, said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago Law School professor who was part of the effort to have a special prosecutor probe the handling of the McDonald investigation.

“This is at least as important as prosecuting the individual officer in the fatal shooting for murder,” Futterman said. “If we want that culture (of silence) to end, and police officers want it to end, we have to know that there are consequences when officers lie.”

March, the detective, resigned in August after a city of Chicago Inspector General’s report said the veteran detective should be fired for his handling of the case. The same report also called for firing Walsh, Van Dyke’s partner, who told investigators that McDonald had been moving toward him and Van Dyke and was preparing to throw a knife at them when Van Dyke opened fire.

Cited in the indictment were entries in reports filed by March and other officers that depicted McDonald as moving toward the officers with his armed raised — and that the teen attempted to get up after he was shot. The indictment notes that March viewed the video and wrote in one report that the images were “consistent with the accounts of all witnesses.”

The indictment also notes that the officers did not make an effort to locate witnesses whose accounts of the shooting didn’t match the official version in police reports.

Gaffney was one of the first officers to encounter McDonald on the night of Oct. 21, 2014, in response to a Southwest Side merchant’s report that the teen was breaking into vehicles in a parking lot. The indictment alleges Gaffney submitted reports that stated Van Dyke and other officers had been injured by McDonald in the confrontation.

It is not clear from the indictment how Gaffney’s actions differed significantly from that of the five other officers who were at the scene and gave accounts of the shooting that matched the versions given by Van Dyke and Walsh. Three other officers at the scene said they were looking away or didn’t see the shooting.

It also wasn’t clear how the charges would impact Van Dyke’s murder case. The judge in Van Dyke’s case earlier this month had said he wanted March to testify about statements Van Dyke made at the shooting scene.

A spokesman for Holmes said Tuesday that members of special prosecutor’s unit are not allowed to follow developments in Van Dyke’s case and that the timing of the indictment had nothing to do with March’s planned upcoming testimony.

Under an agreement with prosecutors, the three officers will make their first appearance in court on the charges on July 10, where they will be arraigned and bond will be set. The charges all are felony counts that carry sentences of up to 6 years in prison.

Mother was 15 dad said seeya... but the community sees not problem with this and what it produces..

Juvenile case files show difficult life of Laquan McDonald

The day 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer began with a juvenile court hearing.

Court visits were routine for Laquan by the time he reached his teens. Abuse and neglect complaints that began when he was a toddler had seen him in and out of foster care, and he had a history of arrests for drugs and petty crimes, according to hundreds of pages of child protection case records made public Thursday.

The thick, battered case files present a detailed history of Laquan’s short life — from when he was placed in foster care for the first time at age 3, to just a few hours before he died.

The juvenile court records, which usually are confidential, were made public Thursday in response to court motions filed by the Chicago Sun-Times and other media outlets. Attorneys for Laquan’s mother and younger sister opposed release of the records, which comes just weeks after Chicago Police released a dashcam video that shows the teenager being shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke on Oct. 20, 2014.

One of the last entries in Laquan’s case was made that morning. A juvenile judge overseeing Laquan’s custody case ruled that he would not be moved from his placement with an uncle, with whom he had lived since the death of the great-grandmother, who had cared for him most of his life.

The files date back to when Laquan was placed in foster care in 2000 and include psychological evaluations and case history reports that outline most of his life — with much of the recent entries detailing a dispute between juvenile justice and child services over whether the teen belonged with his family or a youth justice facility.

Laquan’s mother, Tina Hunter, gave birth to him at age 15, and the man listed as his father took no interest in the child custody hearings that punctuated his early life.

Laquan became a ward of the state at 3, after his younger sister suffered a burn on her legs from a radiator, an injury that drew the attention of child-welfare authorities. While in state custody, he was sexually abused by an older boy in his foster home.

He was returned to his mother’s care in 2002, but she lost custody 13 months later, after her boyfriend beat the 6-year-old in front of day care workers. Day care workers had also reported that Tina Hunter had “whipped” her son with a belt for “more than 10 minutes” in March 2003.

At age 6, a psychiatric evaluation found that Laquan was a study in contradictions: a showoff, but shy; a smart child who struggled in school; a bully whose only friends were girls; given to anger, but deeply sad. Early childhood physical abuse had made him aggressive and prone to violent outbursts, the report said.

“To Laquan, being a child means to be weak,” wrote one examiner. “Powerless and subject to the erratic cruelty of the world around him.”

Laquan lived most of his life in the custody of his great-grandmother, Goldie Hunter, who had raised his mother, who also had been a ward of the state.

As a 16-year-old, Laquan would recall how Goldie Hunter despaired at his gang involvement and how he had a “real relationship” with his great-grandmother.

Laquan admitted to Illinois Department of Children and Family Services investigators that he had joined the New Breeds street gang by age 12, sold drugs for the gang and had been shot at by rivals, but he claimed never to have engaged in gang violence.

Laquan was in juvenile detention when Goldie Hunter was hospitalized shortly before her death. Released on electronic monitoring, Laquan was able to stand at her bedside as she lay in a coma.

“When he held her hand, he stated that he felt her squeeze his hand,” a caseworker reported.

Laquan cut off his monitoring anklet after attending her funeral.

“He noted that this was a bad decision, but he was struggling to cope with her death,” the report states.

Laquan also told caseworkers that he had previous run-ins with police that had ended badly for him. He said he needed stitches to close a cut on his chin after a police officer stepped on his head while he lay on the ground during an arrest for marijuana possession.

During a court appearance for a probation violation in February 2014, he claimed he left the courtroom in a rage and cursed at a sheriff’s deputy, who punched him in the face. Laquan said he spat on the female deputy, who punched him again, the report states.

But court records show Laquan was hoping to be reunited with his mother and sister after Goldie Hunter died. In interviews with DCFS workers, Tina Hunter said she had been overwhelmed as a young parent, and Goldie Hunter had said she hoped her granddaughter would regain custody of the children.

A few months before he died, Laquan reported to caseworkers that his mother was visiting him frequently and attending counseling sessions with him at a juvenile detention facility. After his release, Laquan had been living with his mother, while nominally in the custody of an uncle. His mother had a longtime boyfriend who, unlike the men who beat him as a toddler, was a “gentleman,” he told investigators.

Tina Hunter received a $5 million payout from the city in April to settle litigation over Laquan’s death. Last week, her attorneys said the payment was split between Tina Hunter and Laquan’s 15-year-old sister, who are once again living together. They plan to move to the suburbs.


as a matter of fact i dont have 5$
Mother was 15 dad said seeya... but the community sees not problem with this and what it produces..


Too long to read.
The kid was a pain in the ass his entire life and the cops shootings him did the world a favor
Too long to read.
The kid was a pain in the ass his entire life and the cops shootings him did the world a favor
Yep pretty much... "Dad" dumped a load in to a 15 year old and did a feets don't fail me now and let the "system" raise him... of course the mother (who did sheeeet) gets half the payout... for basically taking a load... 2.5 mil for 9 months and 30 seconds worth of work... nice...

'That didn't happen': Why father-son witnesses to Laquan McDonald shooting took on the Chicago police

Jose Tuco Benidicto Jaun Marie Ramirez Torres and his son, Xavier, returned to the scene of the Laquan McDonald shooting after Friday's conviction of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune)

Jose Torres passes the busy commercial intersection on his way to and from work most days.

The area on the Southwest Side has changed a lot since that night four years ago when fate brought him and his son there moments before a Chicago police officer fatally shot Laquan McDonald. But the violent images and explosive sounds of gunfire remain seared in their minds.

Torres and son Xavier said the police dashboard camera video of the shooting that so roiled the city doesn’t compare with what they witnessed.

In the wake of Officer Jason Van Dyke’s murder conviction, the father and son returned to the scene of the shooting to talk about their decision to fight the false narrative weaved by police in the days following.

Despite witnessing the shooting of 17-year-old McDonald in October 2014, the two had been shooed away from the scene by a police officer who they said didn’t bother to ask them what they saw.

Both took the witness stand last month at Van Dyke’s trial, playing subtle but significant roles as the only civilian eyewitnesses to testify about the shooting. Indeed, prosecutors picked the elder Torres to be their final witness, said special prosecutor Joseph McMahon, because “I wanted the jury to hear from a real person.”

Van Dyke’s conviction Friday on second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each bullet that riddled McDonald’s body — was the first for a Chicago police officer in half a century for an on-duty fatality. The case was fraught with racial tension and social importance because it involved a white officer and black teen

The jury was never told about Jose Torres’ refusal to stay silent about what happened that night after seeing television reports the next morning with a spokesman for the police union saying McDonald had lunged at officers with a knife.

“I told my wife, ‘They’re lying,’” Torres said. “‘That didn’t happen.’”

Days later, the elder Torres contacted the city agency that then investigated police shootings. He and his son later spoke to the FBI and the city inspector general’s office and testified before two separate grand juries, one investigating Van Dyke and the other the alleged police coverup that led to conspiracy charges against three additional officers.

Torres said some family members and friends warned him against getting involved, but he felt that justice was being subverted.

“It took me a few days to work up the strength, the nerve to call somebody and report it,” he said. “I couldn’t sleep. It was eating away at me and my conscience. It was killing me, and I thought if I stay quiet, then I’m part of the coverup and I couldn’t live with myself.”

Torres, 46, said he was taking his son to a hospital for lingering flu-like symptoms just before 10 p.m. when he twice pulled over to let police cars — their lights flashing and sirens blaring — pass. He pulled over a third time when he came upon the police activity. That’s when the two said they saw McDonald for the first time, running from the area of a Burger King.

Torres said he backed up his car, fearing he was too close, just as Van Dyke’s partner drove their police SUV south in the northbound lane to head off McDonald.

Jose and Xavier Torres testified that seated in their car, they had an unobstructed view of McDonald as the teen came up the street. They said McDonald was walking away from police.

In the seconds before the shooting, McDonald had his hands to his sides, both said. The officers shouted at McDonald, who turned his head in their direction before gunfire erupted. As McDonald fell to the street, the two said, they heard more gunshots.

“As soon as I heard the gunshots, he fell,” Jose Torres said. “And then there was a pause, and as soon as he just made a move, all of a sudden it seemed like it was never going to end. It was like pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop as he was on the ground, and they just kept shooting and shooting and shooting.”

Both said they heard so many gunshots that they mistakenly believed more than one officer had fired.

Xavier Torres, 26, said he saw McDonald move while on the pavement like “he was in pain.” Neither thought he was trying to get up as Van Dyke testified — in contrast to what the dash-cam video showed.

Within minutes, a police officer motioned with his flashlight for the Torreses to leave, they said.

As the father and son continued to the hospital, each said, they tried to give the benefit of the doubt to the police for what they had just seen. Neither noticed the knife in McDonald’s hand. They assumed police shot him because he had a gun and “did something really bad,” the younger Torres said.

Jose Torres said he grew angry the next morning after learning on TV that police alleged McDonald lunged at officers with a knife. He and his son talked about what to do next.

Xavier Torres, whose daughter was young, said he worried about her well-being if he and his father went public with what they saw.

“I always stand behind my dad. I always believe in his decisions,” he said. “He was clear that what happened was wrong and that we had to do our part in coming forward.”

The elder Torres said he walked away from his initial interview with the Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that then investigated officer-involved shootings, concerned that authorities were more interested in protecting Van Dyke than uncovering the truth.

No one contacted him for months, Torres said, and he assumed the entire incident would be “swept under the rug.”

The next time anyone inquired about the shooting was when a freelance journalist named Jamie Kalven knocked on his door. Kalven, whose coverage of the case helped bring it out of obscurity, was the first to report about the existence of the dash-cam video.

Months later, the father and son found themselves meeting with the FBI and testifying before a secret grand jury.

The explosive dash-cam video was released in November 2015 — the same day Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder.

Jose Torres said that as the jury’s verdict was announced, he watched live on television like so many others around the Chicago area. He said he grew emotional listening as a court clerk read the guilty verdicts.

Torres said he feels badly for the officer’s family. Van Dyke has a wife, two young daughters and elderly parents who are steadfast in their belief that he did his best in a difficult, dangerous job and note that he had never before fired his gun on duty.

Still, Torres said he believes strongly that the jury’s verdict was just.

“He needs to serve time for what he did, but I don’t think the rest of his life,” he said. “After the first shots, he should have just ended it. That’s where I don’t feel sorry for him because he chose to continue to shoot.”

Van Dyke, 40, who was taken into custody at Cook County Jail after his conviction, faces a minimum of six years in prison at sentencing.

Torres said he still frequently thinks of the shooting and becomes upset when people try to blame McDonald for what happened to him.

“No one deserves that,” he said. “I don’t care if he was innocent or not. Nobody deserves to be shot like that — 16 times on the street. ... I don’t care what anyone says. That shooting wasn’t justified.”
Convicted... waiting for sentence.

Prosecutors lay out path for judge to sentence ex-Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke to up to 18 years in prison

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke is scheduled to be sentenced Friday for the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, closing one of the most racially fraught and socially significant chapters in recent Chicago history.

The highly anticipated sentencing comes with added tension one day after Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson acquitted three Chicago police officers of all charges alleging they conspired to shield Van Dyke from scrutiny in McDonald’s killing.

10:45 a.m.: Prosecutors lay out path for judge to sentence Van Dyke to up to 18 years in prison
After a closed-door session that lasted about half an hour, attorneys argued legal issues involving over what punishment should be imposed.
Prosecutors want him sentenced on his 16 counts of conviction for aggravated battery, a Class X offense that carries a stiffer penalty than second-degree murder. The defense wants Van Dyke punished only for the second-degree murder count, leaving open the possibility of a sentence of probation.

Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon acknowledged the concept may be confusing to the general public -- that murder would be considered less serious that aggravated battery under sentencing laws.“

When you hear the term second-degree murder, it sounds like a more serious offense,” McMahon said. “But when you look at…Illinois state law, aggravated battery is the more serious offense."

Under the state’s labyrinthine sentencing guidelines, some experts believe Van Dyke could be eligible for a minimum 96 years in prison at his sentencing. A jury convicted him last fall of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery — one count for each bullet that riddled 17-year-old McDonald’s body after refusing police orders to drop a knife.

McMahon, however, made clear that he does not believe Van Dyke should be given a sentence of nearly a century in prison for the aggravated battery charges.

“That’s more than two times the minimum sentence for first-degree murder,” declared McMahon, saying that would raise constitutional issues.

McMahon outlined a way for Van Dyke to instead be sentenced to 18 years in prison, but he did not make a specific recommendation as to how many years the ex-officer should be incarcerated.

Prosecutors believe a grand jury correctly indicted Van Dyke on 16 separates count of aggravated battery and that each count of conviction must be served separately, one after the other.

“There were 16 separate gunshots wound, each one causing harm to Laquan McDonald,” McMahon said. “He continued to assess and shoot that gun throughout the entire process.”

But McMahon told Judge Vincent Gaughan that the ex-patrolman does not necessarily have to serve all 16 counts consecutively. Instead, prosecutors contend the judge can determine which shots caused “severe bodily injury” and order Van Dyke to serve only those counts consecutively.

At trial, the defense repeatedly argued that only two bullets — one to McDonald’s chest and another to his neck — were fatal. If the judge agreed with that position, prosecutors argue Van Dyke would face a maximum 18 years in prison — six for the neck wound, six for the chest shot plus six years for the remaining, non-fatal shots.

Under that scenario, Van Dyke would be eligible for parole after 15 years. He would be 55.

9:47 a.m.: Closed-door meeting in judge's chambers delays start

Before the televised proceedings began in earnest, Judge Vincent Gaughan called the attorneys behind closed doors to discuss certain witnesses’ objection to being shown on camera.

Both the prosecution and defense are expected to call witnesses to the stand to discuss the effects of the shooting on McDonald’s family or to vouch for Van Dyke’s character.

The proceedings will be shown on video and audio unless Gaughan grants the witnesses’ requests to be exempted.

9:12 a.m.: Sentencing hearing has begun

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan has taken the bench before a packed courtroom as attorneys and spectators prepare for what could be a lengthy sentencing hearing for Jason Van Dyke.

Van Dyke’s family and well-wishers crowded into benches on one side of the room. Among those in attendance are Van Dyke’s wife, father and two school-age daughters.

On the other side of the gallery sat Laquan McDonald’s family and supporters, including the teen’s great-uncle, the Rev. Marvin Hunter.

Charged for each bullet... cute trick. So remember if you shoot at someone make sure you shoot then wait...

Laquan "Like Me Some PCP and Stabbing" McDonald

Nothing of value was lost... high on PCP robbing radios out of trucks... what a model citizen.

Van Dyke shot McDonald as the teen, high on PCP, walked down Pulaski Road ignoring commands to drop a knife he was holding. The court-ordered release of a police dashboard camera video of the shooting roiled the city, leading to a political reckoning and police reforms.



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There you go Shaun King. You got some justice. Now will you kindly shut the fuck up. Probably will be complaining the cop isn’t getting the chair.
There you go Shaun King. You got some justice. Now will you kindly shut the fuck up. Probably will be complaining the cop isn’t getting the chair.
He did retweet two gang members who shot an innocent black girl got 84 years each.... which of course is totally the same as a police officer shooting some waste or space high on PCP.