Cop Charged with First Degree Murder for Killing Innocent Black Teen, Had 18 Complaints on Record

Jack Bouboushian | Courthouse News Service

CHICAGO (CN) — Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon was appointed Thursday to handle the murder case against the white Chicago police officer who shot a black teen 16 times, sparking city-wide protests.

Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder by the Cook County State’s Attorney in November 2015 for the killing of Laquan McDonald over a year earlier.

In the wake of McDonald’s death, the city stonewalled the release of a police dashcam video of the shooting until a freelance reporter won a Freedom of Information suit for the video in court.

The grainy video shows 17-year-old Laquan McDonald walking down the middle of the street on Oct. 20, 2014, away from the dash-cam-powered police cruiser, and parallel to another police SUV.

McDonald is not walking toward the white officer, Jason Van Dyke, standing several yards away beside the SUV, when Van Dyke fires his weapon.

Though the footage shows McDonald drop to the ground at the first bullet, Van Dyke fires 15 more rounds. The video then shows another officer run up to the body and kick something – possibly a knife – out of McDonald’s hand.

There is no audio attached to the video.

Van Dyke pleaded not guilty to the charges, saying he feared for his life when he shot the teenager 16 times.

He is currently released on a $1.5 million bond.

The release of the video sparked major protests in the city, and forced Mayor Rahm Emanuel to fire the city’s police superintendent amid strident calls for his own resignation.

The Justice Department announced it will conduct an investigation of the Chicago Police Department after the release of video showing the shooting of Laquan McDonald.

Specifically, the federal government will look at the CPD’s policy for the use of force, racial disparity in officers’ use of force, and its handling of misconduct allegations.

According to the department’s own statistics, it disciplined officers in only three percent of more than 56,000 misconduct complaints filed over a 12-year period.

Most officers over this time period accrued an average of four complaints, but 10 percent of officers were accused of misconduct 10 times or more, including Van Dyke, who racked up 18 citizen complaints in his 14-year career.

Van Dyke has never once faced discipline from the CPD.

Published by Courthouse News Service.


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Filming Cops
Filming Cops 5618 posts

Filming Cops was started in 2010 as a conglomerative blogging service documenting police abuse. The aim isn’t to demonize the natural concept of security provision as such, but to highlight specific cases of State-monopolized police brutality that are otherwise ignored by traditional media outlets.

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