Burger King manager says police erased video of Chicago shooting

Protesters make their way up North Michigan Avenue on Friday in Chicago. Community activists and labor leaders hold a demonstration billed as a "march for justice" on Black Friday in the wake of the release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. [Associated Press]
Protesters make their way up North Michigan Avenue on Friday in Chicago. Community activists and labor leaders hold a demonstration billed as a "march for justice" on Black Friday in the wake of the release of video showing an officer fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. [Associated Press]
Published November 29 2015
Updated November 29 2015

CHICAGO — A Burger King manager who accuses Chicago police of erasing surveillance video in the case of a black teenager shot last year by a white officer says he has testified before a federal grand jury investigating the shooting.

Jay Darshane told the Chicago Tribune that the FBI took the recorder containing all of the restaurant's surveillance video.

It's not clear what that video might have shown, but the accusation of tampering has fueled the anger of protesters who say the city, the police and local prosecutors have mishandled the case. After months of refusals, the city released police squad car video of the shooting on Tuesday in response to a judge's order. But the police chief and the Cook County state's attorney deny the Burger King video was altered.

The Burger King is mere yards from where 17-year-old Laquan McDonald fell when the first few rounds struck him. It took just minutes for police to demand to see the restaurant's password-protected video, Darshane said.

"I was just trying to help the police with their investigation," Darshane said. "I didn't know they were going to delete it."

He said that when the officers left, almost two hours later, there was an 86-minute gap in the recording, including the time surrounding the shooting.

Darshane told the Tribune he testified about the missing video before a grand jury this year. The Associated Press could not reach him for comment Saturday.

Federal prosecutors said last week that their investigation was continuing, but would not comment further.

The Cook County state's attorney this past week announced a state-level charge of first-degree murder against the officer.

McDonald was shot 16 times after being pursued by police responding to a complaint about car break-ins. He was carrying a knife. The officer's attorney says that his client fired because he feared for his life, and that he acted lawfully and within police department guidelines.

At a news conference announcing the charge, State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said forensic testing found no evidence that anyone intentionally erased the Burger King video. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy called the allegation "absolutely untrue."

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