*The mystery surrounding the nearly an hour and a half of missing video surveillance footage from the night Laquan McDonald died may be on its way to being solved as new evidence has surfaced that suggest police may have been the last ones to view the footage at a Burger King near the scene of the alleged murder.
The Huffington Post cites a report from NBC Chicago, in which the restaurant’s district manager, Jay Darshane, told the station in May that his cameras were fully operational when police came in on Oct. 20, 2014, the night of the shooting. Despite not being at Burger King at the time, Darshane admitted that he authorized the manager on duty to give the officers access to the footage.
Although the 16 shots to McDonald received from officer Jason Van Dyke wouldn’t be seen in the footage, Darshane suggested that the video might contain details regarding what happened before and after Van Dyke killed the black teen.
It wasn’t until the next day that Darshane discovered that an 86-minute gap existed in the footage. The time frame covered in the missing was 9:13 p.m. to 10:39 p.m. According to prosecutors in the case, Van Dyke fired the first of 16 rounds at 9:57. The missing video of McDonald and Van Dyke was made known to federal grand jury earlier this year by Darshane, The Chicago Times notes.
In Darshane’s eyes, police deleted the revealing footage. Law enforcement officials countered Darshane, stating that they haven’t found evidence that the security system at Burger King was messed with.
That claim is now in question, thanks to two screen grabs NBC Chicago revealed. The images look to capture at least one of the officers reviewing security recordings at Burger King on the night McDonald died.
The screen grabs come across as familiar territory for Chicago attorney Craig Futterman. In an interview with NPR last week, Futterman revealed that he saw footage similar to the grabs NBC Chicago obtained and accused the police of erasing the key minutes in the video.
“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.”
While the images are grainy and don’t show exactly what the officers were doing or how long they were doing what they were doing, Darshane recently mentioned to the Tribune that police came to Burger King with their own information technology specialist and were hanging around the restaurant until about midnight. In addition, Darshane went to claim that the officers were having a difficult time operating the security system.
While the missing footage does raise eyebrows, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez described in a press conference last week that the issue was closed, saying “forensic testing” revealed no tampering. Any further questions regarding the matter were not answered.
Alvarez may have shut down any further questions regarding the matter, but , Garry McCarthy, then superintendent of Chicago’s police force, checked in at the press conference with labeling allegations of his officers altering the footage “absolutely untrue.” For McCarthy, “technical difficulties” was the reason behind the missing video, which took more than a year to release, as well as the lack of sound on it and four other dashcam videos that have been released.
News of the missing footage and screen grabs comes amid Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s announcement on Tuesday (Dec. 1) that he asked for and received McCarthy’s resignation. As for the Burger King allegations, Emanuel said “all that is being looked at by the Justice Department.”