Report: Dash Cam Equipment 'Intentionally Destroyed' in Police Shooting Death of Laquan McDonald
A report in DNAinfo Chicago says records show Chicago cops routinely destroyed dash cam equipment.
The dash cam video showing the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald had no audio because the microphone had been intentionally sabotaged by Chicago police, according to maintenance records originally obtained by DNAinfo Chicago.
The documents show service requests on hundreds of Chicago squad cars detail that officers routinely messed with body-worn mics that synch with dash cam video, the site reported.
After the soundless video of McDonald being shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke was released in November, the department discovered that as much as 80 percent of the force's dash cam footage was missing audio.
This was determined to be due to human error, technical failure, and in some cases, "intentional destruction," said police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.
Van Dyke, who has been charged with murder in the controverial shooting, has pleaded not guilty and is out on bail.
Following a brief hearing Friday in Chicago court, his attorney, Dan Herbert, said Van Dyke has received death threats against him and his family and fears for their lives.
"He’s very concerned about his wife and his children and his own well being,” Herbert said. The lawyer also said he will ask for a change of venue, saying his client cannot get a fair trial in Cook County because of public comments made by city and police officials.
Herbert did not comment on the dash cam report. A request for comment from INSIDE EDITION had not been answered as of Friday evening.
Chicago Police Union President Dean Angelo told reporters Thursday he does not believe the reports.
"How is it determined that this is something that someone purposefully engaged in damaging a piece of equipment?” Angelo asked.
He also blamed city leaders for not fixing equipment that has been breaking down for years.
Angelo called this week's accusations “just more kicks to the morale and kicks to the people that are out there working every day."
On October 20, dash cams in Van Dyke's cruiser and in another squad car captured the officer's fatal shooting of McDonald as the teen walked away from cops while carrying a knife.
In November, technicians noted the footage's missing audio and wrote “it is apparent from the uploaded videos that personnel have failed to sync the mics," according to the maintenance records obtained by DNAinfo.
Chicago activist William Calloway, who helped obtain the records' release, said the reports showed officers were "intentionally sabotaging this audio equipment because in their mind, they’re going to do something wrong or reckless when they’re outside on the beat,” he said, The Guardian reported Thursday.
Van Dyke, who released from jail in December after posting a $150,000 bond against bail in the amount of $1.5 million, has not spoken publicly since he was set free.
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