The Chicago officer who killed Laquan McDonald never synced his microphone to his dashcam and even intentionally damaged the camera, according to police maintenance logs. What’s worse: He’s not the only officer to do so.
Over 1800 logs first obtained by DNAinfo Chicago show that officers regularly damage their cameras or find ways to keep the sound from syncing. Their methods include hiding microphones in glove boxes, pulling out the batteries, damaging antennae, and so on.
The logs showed that Jason Van Dyke, the officer involved in the Laquan McDonald shooting, caused “intentional damage” to his dashcam at least once, though the logs indicate that the dashcam was broken multiple times. On the day of the shooting, the audio for the video was not picked up by his car or the one next to his.
One month after the shooting, a Nov. 21 review of 10 videos downloaded from Van Dyke’s squad car determined it was “apparent … that personnel have failed to sync the MICs [sic],” according police records.
Of the five police vehicles that were present the night of the shooting, only two had dashcams that actually recorded video, and one of those was reportedly broken. Records show that, five days before the shooting, a request was put in to repair the dashcam, though “no problem” was found with the equipment when it was examined October 31.
One week later, the system was reportedly broken again, with a “hardware issue” remaining unaddressed for four months. Three additional dashcams were unable to capture footage the night of the shooting, due to system malfunctions that inclue: “Power issue,” “disc error” and “application error.”
It was not until McDonald was shot and killed by Officer Jason Van Dyke that Chicago PD recognized the widespread issue of officers intentionally tampering with dashcams and dashcam microphones.
Following the release of the one dashcam video of the shooting, Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder.