CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) - The special prosecutor appointed to look into the actions of other police at the shooting of Chicago teen Laquan McDonald wants a grand jury to hear evidence in the case, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
Former Cook County Judge Patricia Brown Holmes was named in July as the special prosecutor to look into whether other Chicago Police officers covered up the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting of 17-year-old McDonald.
Late last month, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson moved to fire Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with murdering McDonald, and four other cops who allegedly lied about what happened at the shooting.
At the time she was appointed, Brown Holmes said she would “take a look at the facts and go from there. I don’t have any preconceived notion about how it should go or what I’m going to do. … Many of us think we know what the evidence is because we heard this or we heard that. I would just say everyone should be patient and allow the process to play itself out … I’m going into it with a clean slate.”
Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon in August was appointed special prosecutor in the case against Van Dyke. The release of dashcam video more than a year after the October 2014 shooting — video which appeared to contradict the statements of officers at the scene — set off a storm of protests.
Several other officers who were the scene backed Van Dyke’s version of events — that he fired at McDonald because he was in his fear for life as the teenager waved a knife and came toward the officers.
One officer said she was looking down as she put her patrol car in park and apparently did not look up again in time to witness the hail of bullets.
McDonald had a knife but was moving away from police in the 4100 block of South Pulaski Road and was 10 feet from Van Dyke when he was shot 16 times.
In the wake of the McDonald shooting, the U.S. Justice Department launched an investigation of the Chicago Police Department, Chicago Police Supt. Garry McCarthy was fired and a panel was appointed to look into how the CPD holds cops accountable.
That panel recommended a slew of changes, many of which Mayor Rahm Emanuel has implemented or begun to. For instance, he has recommended replacing the Independent Police Review Authority with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.
Brown Holmes, a former chief assistant corporation counsel for the city, is currently a partner with the law firm of Riley, Safer, Holmes & Cancila.