A Burger King manager in Chicago told the Chicago Tribune that he testified before a grand jury this week about police deleting surveillance video that may have captured last year’s killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was shot 16 times in a span of six seconds by a white police officer, Jason Van Dyke.
Jay Darshane accused police of erasing the restaurant’s surveillance tape and the FBI of confiscating the restaurant video recorder containing all of its surveillance images. Darshane's comments came even as protests continued over the weekend in Chicago over the black teenager's death.
According to Darshane, after police examined the video of the night, his employees discovered an 86-minute gap covering the period between 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m. “I was just trying to help the police with their investigation ... I didn’t know they were going to delete it,” Darshane told the Chicago Tribune.
The shooting occurred at about 9:57 p.m., according to the timestamp on a police dashcam video released last week. It is not clear what the Burger King video might have shown, as the restaurant’s cameras pointed toward the parking lot, but allegations of tampering have further fueled the anger of protesters who accuse police of mishandling the case.
However, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said the allegations of tampering were “absolutely not true.”
“There were apparently technical difficulties, but in no way, shape or form that anything was tampered with,” he reportedly said.
Last week, under a judge’s order, city authorities released a police squad car video showing the shooting of McDonald. The video shows McDonald jogging down a street -- away from Van Dyke and another officer who emerge from a police SUV -- before being shot down by Van Dyke, who kept shooting even after the teenager fell to the ground.
On Tuesday, Cook County prosecutors announced that Van Dyke -- currently being held without bail at the Cook County Jail -- was charged with first-degree murder. The Chicago lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police -- Chicago's main police union -- expressed support for Van Dyke, and posted a bail fund appeal for the officer on its website.