Three Chicago police officers were charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct on Tuesday for their actions following the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old black teenager, in October 2014. The officers have been accused of attempting to “conceal the true facts” of the shooting in an effort to protect their fellow officer, Jason Van Dyke, who fired at McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke pleaded not guilty in December 2015 to six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct. If convicted, he could face 20 years to life in prison.
On the day that Van Dyke was charged with murder, the city of Chicago released dashcam footage that seemed to contradict accounts from officers on the scene. After responding to reports that McDonald was wielding a knife and breaking into vehicles, Van Dyke and his fellow officers confronted the suspect, who reportedly slashed the tires of a police car. In the footage, McDonald is seen walking away from the officers before being shot repeatedly by Van Dyke, who continued to fire even as the suspect lay on the ground. Immediately following the shooting, officers on the scene reported that McDonald had moved aggressively toward Van Dyke with his knife.