Officers acquitted of Laquan McDonald cover-up

In this Oct. 30, 2018 file photo, from left, former Detective David March, Chicago Police Officer Thomas Gaffney and former officer Joseph Walsh appear at a pre-trial hearing in Chicago. The three Chicago police officers are accused of participating in a cover-up of the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. More than three years after the stunning video of the Chicago police shooting of McDonald was made public, one judge on Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 is scheduled to announce how long the officer who pulled the trigger 16 times will be imprisoned and another will say if she believes three other officers lied about what happened to protect him. (Zbigniew Bzdak | Chicago Tribune via The Associated Press)

CHICAGO — A judge has acquitted three Chicago police officers of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald to protect another officer who pulled the trigger.

Judge Domenica Stephenson said Thursday that after considering all of the evidence, including police dashcam video of the killing, she did not find that officer Thomas Gaffney, Joseph Walsh and David March conspired to cover up the shooting.

The prosecution’s case centered on crucial discrepancies between what was on the dashcam video and what the officers wrote in their reports, contending that the reports’ remarkable uniformity was evidence that the officers were trying to protect Van Dyke from criminal prosecution.

But the judge rejected that argument.

The officer who shot McDonald 16 times, Jason Van Dyke, was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in October and is due to be sentenced Friday.

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