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Black Caucus furious over judge’s ruling in police cover-up cases

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th)

Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) spoke angrily Friday about a Cook County judge's ruling in the alleged cover-up in the Jason Van Dyke case. | Sun-Times file photo

A day after a Cook County judge acquitted three of Jason Van Dyke’s fellow officers in the alleged conspiracy to cover up the Laquan McDonald shooting, the City Council’s Black Caucus angrily called for the judge’s ouster.

“We won’t let you off,” said Ald. Carrie Austin (34th), speaking to reporters during a breakfast at the Marriott Marquis Friday to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “We are enraged at the verdict that she brought down. And we will see how can we come about [in] bringing her down.”

In a 28-page written order, Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson on Thursday acquitted Detective David March and Officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney on counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct.

Stephenson largely sided with the the defense’s argument that the officers on the scene Oct. 20, 2014, saw the shooting from a different angle than the dashcam video that shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times.

“We’re completely outraged,” said Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer (6th).

“As we’re here at a celebration about how far we’ve come, we seem to have not come far at all, and we’re extremely disappointed in this type of verdict,” Sawyer said.

Added Ald. Michelle Harris (8th): “This kind of stuff cannot continue. … We can’t move forward because you’re going to keep us fighting and scratching and pulling each other down.”

Stephenson’s ruling came a day before the sentencing for Van Dyke, who was convicted by a jury in October of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery