Three Chicago police officers were found not guilty of conspiring to protect their fellow cop who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, 17, in 2014.
A Cook County judge on Thursday acquitted officer Thomas Gaffney, former cop Joseph Walsh and ex-detective David March on charges of obstruction of justice, conspiracy
The men decided against a jury trial and had Judge Domenica Stephenson decide their fates.
Cops had called for another officer to arrive with a taser to subdue McDonald, who was seen brandishing a knife on Oct. 20, 2014. Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is White, responded to the call and fatally shot McDonald after the teen walked away. His death was captured on dashcam footage, which was released a year later.
Van Dyke was found guilty in October 2018 of second-degree murder for shooting the teen 16 times. He will be sentenced Friday, according to NBC.
Prosecutors alleged that Walsh told law enforcement investigators that McDonald walked toward Van Dyke, which the video showed was not true, and that Gaffney signed paperwork stating that officers were injured during the incident.
Stephenson said the prosecutor presented weak evidence, which did not prove a crime was committed, the Chicago Tribune reporte. She added that comparing the officers’ accounts made in the police report and the dashcam footage would “disregard the totality of the evidence.”
Marvin Hunter, a great uncle of McDonald’s, denounced Stephenson’s ruling, saying “the entire Cook County legal system (is) corrupt,” the Tribune reported.