Two months before Chicago cops shot and killed Laquan McDonald in a controversial incident for which three officers were later indicted, another teenager was slain by a police bullet. A CNN reporter who investigated the less-publicized event has raised similar questions about whether the earlier shooting was justified.
If a lawyer were present at all police interrogations–including of children under 15—prosecutors could avoid scandals like the two Chicago men who won new trials this month on the grounds of false confessions, and 15 others exonerated after findings of police misconduct, says a juvenile justice advocate.
The cases involved former police Sgt. Ronald Watts, who was sent to federal prison in 2013 for stealing money from a drug courier who was an FBI informant. A defense attorney says 400 more convictions deserve scrutiny.
Chicago’s new police oversight agency promised that misconduct investigations would be transparent and quick under a new city law. But provisions of the law allow police to drag out public disclosures in cases where officers are found at fault.
The city of Chicago is on the hook for the jury award following a federal civil trial. Officer Patrick Kelly was declared responsible for the 2010 shooting that left his best friend, Michael LaPorta, severely disabled. The shooting following a night of heavy drinking. Kelly had claimed LaPorta shot himself.
Students will be taught about the torture scandal involving disgraced former police commander Jon Burge and his “midnight crew” of rogue detectives. The coursework was mandated as part of a victims’ reparations agreement. The local police union said it opposes the teaching of “the Burge mythology.”
Special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes charged patrol officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney and detective David March with conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct. Holmes accused the trio of filing false accounts of the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald to keep officer Jason Van Dyke from being accused of any wrongdoing.
The rate of suicide among Chicago police officers is as much as 60 percent above the national average. Critics say the problem has been exacerbated by a lack of mental health resources, with just three clinicians serving 12,500 sworn officers and their families.
Former Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, already charged with murder, has been indicted on 16 counts of aggravated battery in the controversial 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald. A law professor says prosecutors may be concerned that murder will be difficult to prove.