As the mystery continues into what happened to a restaurant’s footage showing the moments leading up to Laquan McDonald’s death, images have surfaced of police officers viewing the tape before it was allegedly erased.
In a report by NBC Chicago, screengrabs from another camera at the Pulaski Rd. Burger King captured at least one Chicago police officer viewing the restaurant’s footage of the incident. After officer Jason Van Dyke shot the 17-year-old 16 times in the middle of the street last year, four to five officers reportedly walked into the Burger King that McDonald crossed in front of during his encounter with Van Dyke.
Jay Darshane, a district manager for Burger King, gave the officers permission to view their surveillance cameras. He doesn’t believe the cameras caught the shooting, but may have recorded important images leading up to the incident. Darshane, however, maintains the officers deleted some of their tape.
“We had no idea they were going to sit there and delete files. I mean, we were just trying to help the police officers,” Darshane told NBC. The time gap in the video runs from 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m., according to the manager. Van Dyke reportedly fired his first shot towards McDonald at 9:57 p.m.
Darshane testified before a federal grand jury earlier this year, claiming the Chicago PD erased the missing minutes. He also said the cameras inside and outside the establishment were fully functional, while Chicago PD claims they never erased any footage.
During an interview with NPR, Chicago attorney Craig Futterman sided with Darshane’s claims. Futterman, along with freelance journalist Brandon Smith, pressured the police department to release footage of the shooting.
“The officer went into the Burger King, and he erased all seven of those files,” said Futterman, who aggressively lobbied for the release of a related video taken by the police dashcam.
“The irony is, though, that the Burger King surveillance video was running while the officer erased them. And so there’s a videotape of the officer erasing the video.”
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters a forensic investigation found the video wasn’t compromised. Former Police Supt. Garry McCarthy added there were “technical difficulties” with the footage.
NBC Chicago reports:
“Forensic testing was done on the Burger King surveillance system to determine if anyone tampered with the evidence and the testing did not reveal any such evidence,” Alvarez said.
When asked who did the testing, Alvarez replied, “That’s all I’m going to say on this.”
The officers who went to Burger King to view the footage haven’t been publicly identified.
After Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced McCarthy’s resignation on Tuesday, he said in reference to the Burger King allegations, “all that is being looked at by the Justice Department.”