I have often have I heard this phrase from prosecutors: “Sorry but the officer watched the video of a crime in commission but then accidentally deleted it.” This is exactly what happened in Chicago recently. The manager of a Burger King restaurant has spoken to a Grand Jury about his experience with police immediately after the shooting of Chicago teen Laquan McDonald. The Burger King where the manager was working had surveillance tape footage of Laquan minutes before the shooting that would have shed light on the incident. The Manager relayed his story that minutes after the fatal shooting, officers stormed the Burger King and demanded the access codes to the surveillance footage. There the officers stayed for 2 hours examining the monitor on which the footage was stored. When they left, 89 minutes, including the crucial minutes before the shooting, were mysteriously missing. Anita Alvarez of the Illinois state attorney’s office stated: “We have looked at those videos and… it doesn’t appear that it’s been tampered with.” Later, Michael Robbins, the attorney for McDonald’s family told reporters: “It is curious. If they got there and turned it on and found that there was no video, what were they looking at for two hours?” Robbins said that some bystanders who witnessed the incident were not interviewed by police, and on the contrary, were told to leave upon threat of arrest. On 12/1/2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has officially dismissed Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy citing lack of public trust in the police leadership. Laquan was shot 16 times in a Southwest Chicago side street last year. The story of Laquan McDonald raises questions about police misconduct. There is no evidence to prove that these officers deleted the Burger King video to cover their tracks. However, it is disturbing that once again video evidence was erased, accidentally or intentionally, by law enforcement officers whose duty it is to preserve such evidence. If you have been wrongfully accused of a crime or feel that evidence is being withheld in your case, you need a skilled attorney to represent your interests. Call the Law Offices of Steven J. Pisani today for a free consultation.
Cite: Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune, 11/28/2015