A Cook County, Ill., judge said he wanted to hear from the police officers involved in the Laquan McDonald shooting case, including conversations they had with the police officer charged with the premeditated murder of the 17-year-old from Chicago.
NBC Chicago reports that Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled Friday that he seeks testimony from former Deputy Police Chief David McNaughton, who was in charge of the scene of the fatal shooting, and Detective David March, who led the initial investigation, about conversations they had with then-Police Officer Jason Van Dyke on the night of Laquan’s death.
Laquan McDonald was the 17-year-old shot and killed by Van Dyke, who initially stated that Laquan was advancing on him with a knife. Surveillance video showed that the cop shot the teen from 10 feet away, and that as Laquan hit the ground, he 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 his job if he doesn’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 Chicago Police Department to fire the two veteran officers, as well as nine others, for their roles in the investigation (some would say cover-up) of Laquan’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 the prosecutor.
McNaughton retired last year. March was put on desk duty after the internal report, and Van Dyke’s lawyer said Friday that he was no longer on the force.
The two will be called to testify at a hearing June 28.
Read more at NBC Chicago.