2 Officers in Laquan McDonald Case Put on Administrative Leave

Laquan McDonald Video
Chicago Police Department via Getty Images

Fourteen months after 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was gunned down by Chicago police officer, two officers involved the case have been taken off the city's streets.

Chicago police confirmed Friday that David March, who was lead detective at the time of McDonald's shooting death in October 2014, and Officer Joseph Walsh have been placed on administrative leave.

In late December, Interim Police Supt. John Escalante ordered both officers to be removed from the field pending the investigation into events surrounding McDonald’s death.

Walsh was the partner of Officer Jason Van Dyke the night Van Dyke fired 16 shots at McDonald, killing him. Throughout the investigation, Walsh gave conflicting accounts about the events leading up to the shooting, which was captured on dashcam video. Van Dyke has since been charged with murder, to which he pleaded not guilty.

Walsh told investigators "repeatedly" that McDonald was ordered to "drop the knife," claiming the teen approached them swinging the weapon before he was shot dead, the Chicago Tribune reports. Walsh also said he kicked the knife away from a lifeless McDonald after the teen "attempted to kill them," records show.

None of the events Walsh explained could be seen in dashcam footage released by the city.

"Officer Walsh is currently assigned to desk duties within the 8th District and Detective March has been removed from all current investigations within the Bureau of Detective," police department spokesman Frank Giancamilli said in a statement Friday morning.

Though Walsh and March will no longer will be dispatched as responding officers, both are still able to carry a weapon and make arrests, according to the Chicago Tribune.

"While these officers are listed in an active status — meaning their police powers are not formally suspended — they are no longer serving in operational capacities," Giancamilli said.

The exact dates of the officers’ status changes were not made available.

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