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A judge on Thursday acquitted three Chicago police officers of trying to cover up the 2014 police shooting of Laquan McDonald to protect the white officer seen pulling the trigger on dashcam video that showed the black teen getting hit with 16 bullets.
In rejecting the prosecution's entire case, Judge Domenica Stephenson seemed to accept many of the same defense arguments that were rejected by jurors who convicted officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted in October of second-degree murder and aggravated battery and is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.
Judge - Indication - Officers - Evidence
The judge said there was no indication that officers tried to hide evidence.
'The evidence shows just the opposite,' she said. She singled out how they preserved the graphic video at the heart of the case.
McDonald - Family - Cases - Decisions
McDonald's family immediately questioned how the two cases could produce such different decisions.
His great uncle, the Rev. Marvin Hunter, told reporters that the verdict means 'that if you are a police officer you can lie, cheat and steal.'
'To - Men - Jason - Van - Dyke
'To say that these men are not guilty is to say that Jason Van Dyke is not guilty.' He also said 'it is a sad day for America.'
The trial was watched closely by law enforcement and critics of the department that has long had a reputation for condoning police brutality and misconduct.
Officer - Joseph - Walsh - Officer - Thomas
Officer Joseph Walsh, officer Thomas Gaffney and detective David March were accused of conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice. All but Gaffney have since left the department.
Both trials hinged on the video, which showed Van Dyke opening fire within seconds of getting out of his police SUV and continuing to shoot the 17-year-old while he was lying on the street and barely moving.
Police - Report - Male - Trucks - Radios
Police were responding to a report of a male who was breaking into trucks and stealing radios on the city's South Side.
Prosecutors alleged that Gaffney,...
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