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Did Police Try To Cover Up Laquan McDonald Shooting? Grand Jury Selected

By Erica Demarest | November 16, 2016 12:38pm
 Former judge Patricia Brown Holmes handled the aftermath of the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal.
Former judge Patricia Brown Holmes handled the aftermath of the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal.
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Chicago Police Department; DNAinfo/Erica Demarest

COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A special grand jury has been impaneled to hear evidence against Chicago Police officers on the scene the night Laquan McDonald was killed.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014, faces charges of first-degree murder and official misconduct. To date, no other officers have been charged despite widespread allegations of a cover-up.

Cook County Judge LeRoy K. Martin Jr. earlier this year appointed longtime attorney and former judge Patricia Brown Holmes as the special prosecutor who will investigate the other officers on the scene with Van Dyke.

Holmes, during a brief status hearing Wednesday, said a 26-member special grand jury has been impaneled. There are 16 regular jurors, she said, and 10 alternates. No additional details about the jury were immediately available.

Holmes is a longtime attorney and judge who previously handled the Burr Oak Cemetery scandal. After a hearing in September, Holmes stressed the importance of investigating the McDonald case in a timely manner.

"It's important for closure," Holmes said. "The matter has been pending for years. It's a delicate balance though. I don't want to rush, but then I don't want to still be doing this five years from now. It's a matter of doing a good job."

Holmes will next appear before Martin on Jan. 18.

Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson earlier this year moved to have Van Dyke and several other officers fired over allegations they lied after the shooting of McDonald.

The teen had been stealing truck radios and was armed with a 3-inch blade on Oct. 20, 2014, when Chicago Police officers in Archer Heights called in a radio request for a Taser, prosecutors said.

Van Dyke and his partner responded to the call, but never specified whether they had a Taser. Within seconds of arriving on the scene, Van Dyke pulled his gun and emptied his clip into McDonald, shooting the teen 16 times. Video of the shooting, which was released via a court order in November 2015, sparked protests that shut down the Mag Mile and other major streets.


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