NEWS BRIEF The killing of Laquan McDonald resulted in first-degree murder charges against Jason Van Dyke—the first on-duty Chicago cop to be charged with a homicide in more than 35 years.
Those charges were one of the many results of a video of Van Dyke shooting McDonald, a 17-year-old who was walking away from the officer, in October 2014. The incident revealed deep systemic issues within the Chicago Police force. When officials released the clip, there were days of protests, the police superintendent was fired, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel, on the defensive, agreed to major changes to the department. District Attorney Anita Alvarez, who was seen as dragging her feet, lost a primary in March.
But even with those steps, some important questions about the shooting itself remained unresolved. There were at least another eight officers on the scene, but initial written reports absolved Van Dyke, with police saying that McDonald was shot after he refused to drop the knife and advanced on officers. The video showed that McDonald was walking away. Van Dyke also shot him several times after he had fallen to the ground.
Now Patricia Brown Holmes, a special prosecutor appointed in the McDonald case has asked for a grand jury to investigate whether police officers were involved in a cover-up. The Chicago Tribune reports:
Holmes declined to say Monday how many officers were under criminal investigation, but she emphasized there would be "no rush to judgment."
"We want to make sure that they are treated fairly ... and that we're doing things the way that they ought to be done," she said.
A judge said the grand jury would convene within two weeks. Holmes declined to say how many officers could face charges. In August, Superintendent Eddie Johnson began the process to fire five officers—four patrol officers and one sergeant—whom he accused of lying in the McDonald case.