There are more videos of Laquan McDonald’s murder than just the police dashcam video that Chicago just released. A nearby Burger King also had surveillance video, which the FBI seized, but the restaurant’s manager is saying there are 86 minutes of footage missing. Unsurprisingly, the missing footage is during the time that Officer Jason Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald to death and beyond.
The manager, Jay Darshane, testified that the footage was missing before a grand jury. CPD apparently entered the restaurant following the shooting, asked to see the video footage, and when they left two hours later, there were 86 minutes missing from the tape. Darshane told the Chicago Tribune:
I was just trying to help the police with their investigation. I didn’t know they were going to delete it.
Of course he didn’t know that. Most of us probably wouldn’t think that the police would delete footage from surveillance tapes, especially when we think we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing by cooperating with them. However, CPD is denying that they deleted footage, with Commissioner Garry McCarthy saying:
There were apparently technical difficulties. But in no way, shape or form is there any evidence that anything was tampered with, and I think (Alvarez) covered that.
It’s funny how he says, “There’s no evidence that anything was tampered with,” rather than, “Nothing was tampered with,” isn’t it?
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez claims that forensic analysis says nothing was deleted. They haven’t explained why Darshane is saying there are 86 missing minutes, though. One of Burger King’s tech support employees also testified, saying he was unsuccessful in trying to recover the missing data.
The problem is that it’s just too convenient that the missing data, which Commissioner McCarthy implies could be the result of technical difficulties, just happens to cover the time of the shooting. Experts say that the recorder probably would not have caught the shooting itself, but may have caught critical moments just beforehand, and may have given investigators more insight into what really happened.
This is the Chicago Police Department. They have a history of corruption, and a history of retaliating against whistleblowers, which strongly suggests they’re not above destroying evidence against one of their own because they know nobody will speak out about it. When you know everyone will keep quiet, it becomes too tempting to do what you want. That kind of power corrupts.
Anita Alvarez is no peach, either. She’s not above trying to secure sentences of life without parole for juvenile offenders, which the Supreme Court says is cruel and unusual. She punished a woman who tried to stand up to CPD. She took a full year to press charges against Van Dyke for McDonald’s murder, despite having access to camera footage of the shooting and knowing what happened.
This is why it’s so suspicious that CPD would deny deleting video footage that just happens to cover the time of McDonald’s murder. When the dashcam footage came out and showed that murder, it showed a severe instance of police brutality against a member of a marginalized community. It didn’t exonerate Van Dyke. There’s no reason to believe that CPD wouldn’t look at the surveillance video from Burger King and tamper with it, to try and cover up McDonald’s murder.
Featured image via screen capture