The special prosecutor who formally charged three Chicago cops with covering up information in shooting death of Laquan McDonald moved Thursday to remove a controversial judge with a history of siding with police in cases of excessive force, reports the Chicago Tribune.
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Special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes moved to “substitute” Judge Diane Gordon Cannon on grounds that the judge “is prejudiced” against the prosecution. Another judge will likely be assigned to the case next week, writes the Tribune.
The three officers — former Detective David March, ex-Officer Joseph Walsh and Officer Thomas Gaffney — face charges of obstruction of justice, official misconduct and conspiracy for allegedly covering up officer Jason Van Dyke’s actions in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old McDonald in October 2014. Police dashcam video contradicted what the officers described when McDonald was shot 16 times.
The three officers pleaded not guilty and were released. Van Dyke is facing first-degree murder charges.
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Cannon, who is known for her 2015 acquittal of a police commander charged after allegedly shoving a gun down a suspect’s throat, was assigned to the McDonald case Monday after another judge recused herself, reports ABC7 Chicago.
G. Flint Taylor, an attorney who has been involved in a number of Chicago police brutality cases, praised Holmes’ request to remove Cannon from the case, which sparked protests against police excessive force in the Black community.
“I think it was very appropriate for her to file that, given Judge Cannon’s history in being very pro-police officers in cases of excessive force and police misconduct,” said Taylor, who was part of the legal coalition that backed appointing special prosecutors in the McDonald killing and suspected cover-up.