Chicago police cite reforms after 3 indicted

Chicago police cite reforms after 3 indicted

Three current or former Chicago police officers were indicted on Tuesday on state felony charges for their roles in attempting to cover up the shooting death of a black teenager by a white officer, prosecutors said. The Cook County grand jury indictment alleges that the three officers - David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney - were at the scene of the killing and worked together to hide crucial facts in the initial police report.

"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", said attorney Patricia Brown Holmes, who was appointed to serve as a special prosecutor in the investigation.

Detective David March and patrol Officers Joseph Walsh, Van Dyke's partner that night, and Thomas Gaffney were each charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice.

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Video released in 2015 showed white officer Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as the teen was apparently walking away from officers.

A scathing Justice Department report released in the final days of the Obama administration concluded that the Chicago Police Department "engages in a pattern or practice of the use of excessive force". He says the teen's death "forever changed" the Chicago Police Department and it is implementing reforms.

Walsh and March were placed on administrative status in December 2015.

Those reports said that Van Dyke - identified in the indictment as Individual A - was injured by McDonald, who was swinging a knife "in an aggressive manner", according to the indictment. Kevin Graham, president of the officers' union, said the union has not yet reviewed the indictment and declined to comment because it's an ongoing investigation.

The officers will be arraigned July 10.

March, 58, is a police veteran of more than 30 years.

The charges each carry fines of $25,000 and prison time of up to 3 to 5 years. It alleges the officers understood that, if video and other evidence became public, "it would inexorably lead to a thorough criminal investigation by an independent body and likely criminal charges".

In November previous year, a grand jury was convened to investigate allegations that Chicago police had covered up details of the incident to protect Van Dyke from criminal charges and internal discipline.

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