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Laquan McDonald’s Attorneys Say CPD Forced Witnesses to Change Stories

Attorneys for the estate of Laquan McDonald, a knife-carrying teenager shot by police last year, are accusing the Chicago Police Department of intimidating witnesses and forcing them to change their accounts of the shooting.

mmediately after Officer Jason Van Dyke shot Laquan on October 14, 2014, police began questioning witnesses.

Apparently, some of the witnesses’ accounts did not line up with the police’s narrative of the shooting. One detail in question is whether McDonald lunged at Van Dyke with a knife.

“One witness whom the police reports alleged did not see the shooting, in fact told multiple police officers that he saw the shooting, and it was ‘like an execution,’” Michael Robbins wrote Thomas Platt, deputy corporation counsel of Chicago, on March 23. “Civilian witnesses have told us that they were held against their will for hours, intensively questioned by detectives, during which they were repeatedly pressured by police to change their statements. When the witnesses refused to do so, the investigating officers simply fabricated civilian accounts in the reports.”

According to DNA Info, no dissenting eyewitness account of the shooting made it to the full police report of the incident.

The Daily Beast claims that none of the witnesses quoted in the report tell a story even remotely similar to the one portrayed by the police dash cam, which City Hall says would be released after the investigation into the shooting is over.

Right now, the investigation is being overseen by the Justice Department, the Cook County 

Prosecutor and the Independent Police Review Authority.

Thus, the police department can withhold documents relating to the shooting and cite the ongoing investigation. So far, police have stated they can’t comment on “specific allegations.”

These allegations were made during negotiations on a $5 million settlement between the McDonald estate and the city, according to emails released by the city last week.


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