Police could face years in jail for obstruction
The "code of silence" is usually the most used and most effective police response in protecting a fellow cop charged with a shooting death. But in Chicago today, three could face years in prison after being indicted for crimes such as conspiracy, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice.
You can clearly see in a police dashboard-camera video from the New York Times website [below] that former Chicago Police Officer James Van Dyke shoots black teenager Laquan McDonald dead in the middle of the street. A 17-year-old McDonald was clearly carrying a knife but was also spun away from police just before Van Dyke began firing. And far from any sort of slashing-distance to Van Dyke, he proceeded to shoot the teen 16 times.
But today Patricia Brown Holmes, who was appointed special prosecutor to investigate officers at the scene and involved in the investigation of the shooting, according to the Associated Press, responded to a grand jury indictment of three-involved officers (two former officers and one suspended) just for the subsequent cover up.
Holmes stated that the three accused- David March, Joseph Walsh, and Thomas Gaffney –,
…coordinated their activities to protect each other and other members of the Chicago Police Department by furnishing false information, making false police reports, failing to report or correct false information, ignoring contrary information or evidence, obstructing justice, failing to perform a mandatory duty, and performing acts each knew to be forbidden to perform…
Prosecutor Holmes continued by stating,
Further, the indictment makes clear that these defendants did more than merely obey an unofficial 'code of silence.' It alleges that they lied about what occurred to prevent independent criminal investigators from learning the truth.
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As expressed in a New York Times article, in the midst of the recent acquittals of police officers charged with similar shooting deaths in St. Paul and Milwaukee, it's seen as a difficult reality that a conviction is far from assured, even when there is video evidence and an aggressive prosecutor. Yet, in Chicago, it seems that Pros. Holmes is not being intimidated by the "code of silence," but rather attacking it.
Nearly a year after the event in 2016, the public release of the video via television news and social media sparked nights of demonstrations across the Chicago, led to the removal of the city's police superintendent, and put in motion a broad investigation by the Justice Department into the City Police Department according to the New York Times. And what's further is that now a precedent is sent at least in one American city that a cover-up is just as serious as the crime.
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