Yesterday afternoon, Cook County Associate Judge Domenica Stephenson handed down a verdict of not guilty in the case of three Chicago police officers accused of an attempted cover-up in the murder of seventeen year old Laquan McDonald. Despite overwhelming evidence that the officers filed fraudulent reports in order to forge justification for officer Van Dyke’s brutal killing of a teenager, the judge, in her hour-long ruling, deflected accountability away from law enforcement and proceeded to falsely malign the victim, Laquan McDonald, as a violent aggressor whose actions warranted execution by sixteen shots. Yesterday’s miscarriage of justice attests to the power and reach of the officer code of silence, which stretches its grasp beyond the police department, fixing its hold over city hall, the mayor’s office and the county courthouse.
In the days that followed the murder of Laquan McDonald, officer Thomas Gaffney, former officer Joseph Walsh, and former detective David March filed matching reports corroborating Van Dyke’s claim that on the night of the shooting, McDonald had presented an imminent threat, ignoring verbal commands and wielding a knife. What these cops did not anticipate, was that in the following year the Chicago Police Department, under mounting pressure from grassroots community activists, would be forced to release dashcam footage of the police killing. This video evidence irrefutably contradicted the officers' accounts. Over the course of the trial, prosecutors presented compelling testimony by fellow cops, supported by departmental video, police files and emails to conclusively demonstrate that the accused officers in fact submitted falsified reports in order to shield Van Dyke from accountability.
In the face of yesterday's failure of justice, CRGE remains committed to its demand for restitution for Laquan McDonald and for every life touched by police violence. Join us as we carry this fight for justice forward.
Call upon Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson (312-745-6100) to fire disgraced officer Thomas Gaffney.
Demand that Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans (312-603-6000) call upon circuit court judges to vote against the reappointment of Associate Judge Domenica Stephenson.
Bring #Justice4Laquan to the ballot box on February 26th by voting to unseat aldermen who refuse to support a democratically elected representative police board and a just police contract that ends the code of silence.
In the coming weeks, CRGE will launch a city wide voter mobilization campaign to elect municipal candidates that represent our values, reflect our communities and champion Black safety and liberation. Please contact us for more information about our electoral campaign and to learn how you can get involved in our work.