A damning new report accuses Chicago police of destroying dash cams in an effort to block audio during certain encounters with residents, according to DNAInfo Chicago.
The news outlet reviewed more than 1,800 police maintenance logs, which shed light on the lack of sound in department videos of crime scenes, including the high-profile shooting death of unarmed Black teen Laquan McDonald.
The report notes that police officials last month blamed the unavailability of audio in 80 percent of dash cam videos on officer error and “intentional destruction.”
Maintenance records of the squad car used by Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, and his partner, Joseph Walsh, show monthslong delays for two dashcam repairs, including a long wait to fix “intentional damage.”
On June 17, 2014, police technicians reported fixing a dashcam wiring issue in police vehicle No. 6412, the squad shared by Van Dyke and Walsh, about three months after it was reported broken, records show.
A day later, the same vehicle’s dashcam system was reported busted again. It took until Oct. 8, 2014, to complete repairs of what technicians deemed “intentional damage,” according to reports.
Twelve days after the technicians’ findings, dash cam video recorded from the same squad car failed to record audio on the night Van Dyke shot and killed McDonald, the report says.
The viral video of the shooting was recorded from a different squad car, but it, too, was missing audio.