Judge acquits three Chicago cops of covering up 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s murder.
I was arrested the day the Iraq war started. I had gone straight to the protest from work and ended up spending the night in jail in my awkward office-casual outfit. I sat in a cell with a domestic violence survivor I had helped in court only two days before.
At the trial, the two arresting officers said that my friend and I had attacked them — their story became more and more fanciful as they spoke from the witness stand. They claimed my friend had jumped on one officer’s back, they thought he was going to grab their gun. The judge finally separated the two officers so that they could not hear each other’s testimony: Once she did, their stories ceased to match up.
None of these serious allegations had been documented in the police report they filed when they arrested us, nor had we been charged with any of the crimes they were alleging now. At some point in my peripheral vision, I could see that the prosecutor had dropped her forehead nearly to table in front of her, clearly giving up on her case. We were both found not guilty.
Months later, one of those two officers was working off-duty at an apartment complex and shot a man. He claimed that the man had tried to attack him. I contacted the defense attorney of the man who was shot explaining what we had experienced in court. The defense attorney never called me back. The story got a paragraph in the local paper. The man who was shot, I believe, went to jail.
Yesterday, in Chicago, three police officers who were caught lying to cover up Officer Jason Van Dyke’s murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald were acquited in a bench trial. Not only were they found not guilty of conspiring to paint this child victim as an aggressor, but the judge spoke for nearly an hour about how it was wrong to second guess the police — giving their words and “interpretations” more credibility than the facts shown on the dashboard camera and the statements of non-police eyewitnesses. Apparently, the courtroom erupted into applause, and police officers smiled and shook hands and congratulated each other at the end of the day. I’m sure there were drinks all around.