The police officers were indicted for allegedly engaging in a conspiracy in an attempt to prevent or shape the independent criminal investigation into McDonald’s police-involved shooting death, according to a release from Special Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes.
Det. David March, 58, and patrol Officers Joseph Walsh 48, and Thomas Gaffney, 43 were each charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice, according to court documents filed in Cook County, Illinois on Tuesday.
“The indictment makes clear that these defendants did more than merely obey an unofficial ‘code of silence,’ rather it alleges that they lied about what occurred to prevent independent criminal investigators from learning the truth,” Holmes said.
March, Walsh, Gaffney and others allegedly conspired in the “critical early hours and days” following the shooter “to conceal the true facts of the events surrounding” McDonald’s death “to shield their fellow officer…from criminal investigation and prosecution,” the indictment states.
Prosecutors also accuse the officers of coordinating their activities to protect each other and other members of the department by furnishing false information, making false police reports, failing to report or correct false information, ignoring contrary information or evidence, obstructing justice, failing to perform a mandatory duty and performing acts each knew he was forbidden to perfect.
The indictment also alleges that the officers failed to locate, identify and interview at least three witnesses whose information was inconsistent to accounts given by members of the police department.
March is a police veteran of more than 30 years, and Walsh and Gaffney have both been with the police department for about 20 years, according to the release.