The three officers who were on trial for conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct in the cover up of Laquan McDonald’s murder were acquitted on Thursday by Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson.
Officer Thomas Gaffney, ex-Officer Joseph Walsh and former Detective David March had opted against having a jury hear their case, instead asking for the judge to make the sole decision on their charges.
Stephenson said that while the reports were different from the video, that’s not evidence of a cover up.
“Two people, with two different vantage points, can witness the same event, but describe it differently,” the judge said. “This does not necessarily mean that one of them is lying rather it could be an indication that they are describing what they saw from their vantage point, with their own perceptions.”
Officer Dora Fontaine
testified that she never saw McDonald threaten any officers at the scene. Fontaine said that Det. March, who was investigating the shooting, instructed her to make up that allegation in a report.
“Other officers were calling me a rat, a snitch, a traitor, they wouldn’t back me up,” she testified. “If I was on a call-in and needed assistance, some officers felt strong enough to say that I didn’t deserve to be helped.”
McDonald’s great uncle, Rev. Marvin Hunter, had just thanked everyone a few days ago who worked diligently to pressure local government over the 2014 shooting. Many others have taken “ownership” of their role in revealing the facts behind McDonald’s case, Hunter
Now, Hunter said the sweeping ruling in favor of the officers proves “the entire Cook County legal system (is) corrupt.”
“This is not justice,” he told reporters. “This judge had made up her mind to make sure these officers never saw the inside of a jail.”
The man who shot McDonald and was convicted of second degree murder, Jason Van Dyke, is set to be sentenced on Friday. Prosecutors are asking a minimum of 18 years in prison, while the defense is asking for only probation.
Social media continues to weigh in with reactions:
Laquan McDonald was 12 feet from police, WALKING AWAY when he was shot 16 times. The officers submitted paperwork stating he was the aggressor!
They were just found not guilty of a coverup.
Next time you’re about to bitch about athletes taking a knee
Do us a favour and STFU.
Gord Macey (@GordMacey)
January 17, 2019
The only outcomes possible in the system of white supremacy is an unjust one and/or one that protects the system of racism/white supremacy.
Joy316 (@joy31608) January 17, 2019
This is why football players kneel.
Barbara Highlander (@BarbaraHighlan3) January 17, 2019
Reader Question: How can we trust a system when even a woman in blue testifies she was threatened and made to lie by her brothers in blue