Three witnesses to the Laquan McDonald murder in Chicago have come forward stating that they were intimidated and threatened for hours by the Chicago police in an attempt to get them to change their stories to match that of the official narrative. When that was unsuccessful, their statements were left out and other statements were fabricated by police “investigators” that matched the cover story that McDonald had lunged at Officer Jason Van Dyke.
Other witnesses have also come forward stating that, rather than question them about what they saw, police at the scene ordered them to leave under threat of arrest. Furthermore, those implicated in the cover-up, which already included evidence of lies in official statements by the officers on scene and the deliberate deletion of surveillance video at a nearby Burger King, is now spreading department wide and up and down the chain of command within the Chicago PD.
The attorneys also allege that police officers up the chain of command fabricated witness accounts to support the way officers at the scene described the October 20, 2014, shooting as justified.
“It’s not just the officers on the street,” attorney Jeffrey Neslund told CNN. “It’s a lieutenant, a sergeant and detectives — and the lengths they went to justify what simply was not true…”
CNN legal analyst Joey Jackson said the allegations made by Neslund and Robbins are a significant development.
“In the event that it’s true, you have multiple underlying charges: intimidating witnesses, falsifying public records and you have a conspiracy that more than one person was involved,” Jackson said. “This has the potential of taking down a lot of people in that police department.”
“The issue then becomes how high of a level does this go: Who knew about this?”…
Attorneys: Witness said an officer was ‘going to get me’
Attorneys Robbins and Neslund were seeking a settlement with the city on behalf of McDonald’s family when they requested witnesses’ statements to police. They personally interviewed three witnesses. They found that the accounts police provided did not match what witnesses told the lawyers.
These were the accounts the lawyers say witnesses gave to them:
A motorist and his son who witnessed the shooting said a uniformed officer told the man “to get out of there immediately, to drive off or be arrested,” Robbins told CNN.
“This is somebody who is an occurrence witness to a fatal shooting,” Robbins said. “Nobody asked him, ‘What did you see?’ “
Another witness, a truck driver who was at a nearby Burger King, told the attorneys that he and two other witnesses, a woman and her friend who both saw the shooting, were put in police cars, taken to a station and interviewed for hours in separate rooms.
“He kept describing it and he said the police were visibly angry with him and arguing with him about what happened, saying, ‘That’s not what happened,’ ” Robbins said. “He’d say, ‘Well, that’s what I saw.’ They said, ‘No, you’re wrong.’ “
At one point, the trucker told police he needed to get back to work for a 6 a.m. shift, according to Robbins. “The police said, ‘We don’t give a f— about your truck. Let’s go through this again,’ ” Robbins said.
In their letters to the city, the lawyers describe the account of the woman taken to the same station with the truck driver. They did not interview her but say she spoke to McDonald’s family and told them the teen was “trying to run away from (police),” Neslund wrote.
The woman, Neslund alleged, was so appalled when shots rang out that she yelled at Van Dyke: “Stop shooting.”
“There’s a reason they kept us there ’til 4 a.m.,” the woman told McDonald’s family, according to Neslund. “One officer said he was going to get me.”
When the witnesses refused to change their statements, Robbins wrote, “the investigating officers simply fabricated civilian accounts in the reports.”
The woman, her friend and the truck driver were released after about six hours of questioning when one of them asked for an attorney, Robbins said.
The threats and intimidation of the female witness, Neslund alleged, continued in the days after she first spoke with police.
‘We were told there were no witness statements’
In response to the attorneys’ requests for witness statements, the city allowed them to examine summaries of witness accounts. Those summaries said five people in the vicinity of the shooting were interviewed by police, but none of them saw the shooting. Two said they “did not see or hear anything,” according to the official police records. Another witness summary said a third person heard gunshots and then saw McDonald was “lying in the street.” The two others said they saw McDonald being chased by police, but did not see the shooting, according to the official police version.
The names of people interviewed by police are redacted in the publicly released documents. One of the redacted names is listed as a “self-employed truck driver.”
Neslund and Robbins confirmed that the trucker they interviewed is the person in those redacted documents. When the attorneys first approached him and told him the police records say he didn’t see the shooting, he told them that was not true.
“The truck driver says he did tell police, that it was like an execution,” Robbins said. “What he described was what we saw in the video.”
CNN asked the attorneys to put the network in touch with the witnesses for interviews. They declined.
The Police Department’s witness summaries were submitted into the record on March 15, 2015, nine days after the attorneys sought information and nearly five months after the shooting. The document was signed off and approved by a Chicago police lieutenant.
“We saw these (summaries) by the three witnesses who were interviewed at the station — that police say they didn’t see anything. We said, ‘Where’s the witness statements?’ We were told there were no witness statements,” Robbins said.
“”Significantly in our view,” Robbins said, “of these three witnesses — the truck driver, the woman and her companion — none of them were asked to sign a statement.”
Meanwhile: (From the same article)
As of now, no other officer connected to the McDonald case has faced any charges, and they remain on their beats.
So, you have clear evidence of officers at the scene falsifying their reports to support Van Dyke’s murderous actions, other officers destroying evidence by deleting the Burger King surveillance video, the police department and district attorney’s office and city officials fighting the release of the video that clearly contradicts the official story and or impeding the collection of contradictory witness statements. That’s an awful lot of Bad Apples.
And they want everyone to be placated by the fact that they reluctantly filed charges against (just) Van Dyke after they were forced kicking and screaming into releasing the video. Are you?