No further indictments for Chicago police in 2014 shooting of black teen

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 14, 2017 2:47 PM

By Suzannah Gonzales

CHICAGO (Reuters) - No more Chicago police officers will be indicted in connection with the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald by a white officer, a county prosecutor told a judge on Tuesday.

A video of the shooting of McDonald, 17, released in the fall of 2015, prompted days of protests and the ouster of the city's police chief, and put the spotlight on Chicago in a national debate over the use of excessive force by police against minorities.

A special grand jury has concluded its inquiry and been discharged, Cook County Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes said in a statement on Tuesday.

Three Chicago Police Department officers were indicted in June for conspiring to cover up the shooting death.

The grand jury, which operates in secret, had continued its investigation after issuing the indictment against the three men and examined the conduct of other individuals, but did not return further indictments, prosecutors said. The grand jury met many times over the past year.

Chicago police officers David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney were each charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice. They pleaded not guilty in July.

A Dec. 18 court hearing has been set for the three.

Walsh and March are no longer with the force and Gaffney was suspended without pay. Following his indictment, Gaffney was relieved of police powers and is currently on administrative duty awaiting trial, Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in an email. All three men are white.

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Jason Van Dyke, the police officer charged with murder in the shooting, pleaded not guilty in 2015. In March, he pleaded not guilty to 16 new counts of aggravated battery.

No trial date has been set.

(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Ben Klayman and Matthew Lewis)