3 Chicago police officers accused of cover-up in Laquan McDonald shooting in court for pre-trial hearing

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Chicago police Officer Thomas Gaffney, left, ex-Officer Joseph Walsh and former Detective David March sit during a pre-trial hearing with Judge Domenica A. Stephenson at Leighton Criminal Court Building on Tuesday. In front are their attorneys William Fahy (left) and Thomas Breen. | Zbigniew Bzdak/Chicago Tribune/Pool

By Diane Pathieu and Leah Hope

Three current and former Chicago police officers accused of covering up details of the Laquan McDonald shooting appeared Tuesday, October 30 in Cook County court for a pre-trial hearing.

David March, Joseph Walsh, and Thomas Gaffney are accused of coordinating their stories and making false police reports after the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. Prosecutors said the officers claimed in their reports that McDonald had assaulted Officer Jason Van Dyke, dashcam video evidence proved otherwise.

Van Dyke shot the teenager 16 times as he was walking away from officers. The officer was convicted earlier this month of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery.

The officers are charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice.

Officer Gaffney is suspended without pay. He was charged and suspended for allegedly signing off on reports about McDonald’s shooting.

Detective March, who was the lead investigator, and Officer Walsh, Van Dyke’s partner the night of the shooting, are now retired.

Like the Van Dyke trial, the judge is allowing cameras inside the court for this case.

A bench trial is set for November 26.

 

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