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Three Chicago police officers indicted for cover-up in shooting death of Laquan McDonald

A Chicago grand jury has indicted three police officers on conspiracy charges, alleging they interfered with an independent investigation into the 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Officers Thomas Gaffney, David March and Joseph Walsh were all charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice in their roles “to conceal the true facts of the events” surrounding the Oct. 20, 2014, fatal shooting of McDonald, according to the indictment filed Tuesday. A Cook County special grand jury had approved the indictment Monday.

“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,” special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes, appointed last summer, said in a statement.

In October, Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke shot the black teen 16 times. The fatal encounter was caught on the squad car’s dash cam. The footage was eventually made public in 2015 under orders from a judge and after months of calls for its release.

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. He still awaits trial, and, if convicted, faces a sentence of 20 years to life.

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