Judge rules that cops in charge of LaQuan McDonald case must testify about night of his shooting death
A Cook County Judge said he wanted to hear from the police officers in charge of the LaQuan McDonald shooting, including conversations they had with the police officer charged with the premeditated murder of the 17-year-old Chicago teen.
NBC Chicago reports that Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled on Friday that he seeks testimony from former Deputy Chief David McNaughton, who was in charge of the scene of the McDonald shooting, and Detective David March, who led the initial investigation, about conversations they had with Officer Jason Van Dyke on the night of McDonald’s death.
LaQuan McDonald was the 17-year-year old shot and killed by Van Dyke, who initially stated that McDonald was advancing on him with a knife. Surveillance video showed that the cop shot the teen from 10 feet away, and as McDonald hit the ground, pumped 16 more bullets into him.
NBC reports that the issue is whether Van Dyke’s statements to the two officers can be used by special prosecutor Joseph McMahon as he builds his case against Van Dyke, who is charged with first-degree murder.
Lawyers for Van Dyke have argued that the former cop’s words can’t be used as evidence to bring charges against him, based on a 40-year-old U.S. Supreme Court ruling saying that statements made in internal investigations, where an officer is at risk of losing their job if they don’t talk, cannot be used as a basis for criminal charges.
Both McNaughton and March cleared Van Dyke of wrongdoing in the 2014 shooting, and a report last year by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson called for the CPD to fire the two veteran officers, as well as nine others, for their roles in the investigation (some would say cover up) of McDonald’s killing.
Judge Gaughan ruled that statements from five officers present at the shooting, as well as a report Van Dyke filled out himself immediately after the shooting, were fair game for prosecutor McMahon.
McNaughton retired last year. March was put on desk duty after the internal report, and Van Dyke’s lawyer said on Friday that he was no longer on the force.
The two will be called to testify at a hearing on June 28.