Van Dyke is believed to be the first Chicago officer convicted in a fatal on-duty shooting of an African-American. The other three — officers Thomas Gaffney and Joseph Walsh and detective David March — are thought to the first to be charged with trying to cover up an on-duty shooting. Although their case has not garnered as much attention as Van Dyke's, many view it as more significant because it challenges the code of silence that critics have long accused the police department of using to cover up its messes.
"This is a criminal prosecution for officers participating in a code of silence, doing what they've always done, what's expected of them," said Craig Futterman, a University of Chicago law professor who helped secure the release of the video. "But here the message is if you lie, if you cover up, you can go to jail."
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