Officer charged in Laquan McDonald’s killing appears in court

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A Chicago police officer charged in the shooting death of teen Laquan McDonald is expected to appear in court Thursday for a pre-trial hearing.

Officer Jason Van Dyke killed McDonald, 17, the night of October 20, 2014.

Dashcam video showed McDonald walking down a road with a knife in his hand, but strolling away from officers.

Jason Van Dyke will earn $12 an hour working as a "jack-of-all-trades" for the Fraternal Order of Police, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Jason Van Dyke will earn $12 an hour working as a “jack-of-all-trades” for the Fraternal Order of Police, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

Van Dyke jumped out of his vehicle and pulled his gun, firing at McDonald six seconds after arriving on the scene. It took him 15 seconds to fire 16 shots.

McDonald and Van Dyke never faced each other in the encounter.

Van Dyke continued to fire, unloading every round from his 9-mm Smith & Wesson handgun. All 16 bullets struck the teen, most of them while he was limp on the ground.

The prosecution is expected to respond to a request by civil rights attorneys to appoint a special prosecutor in the case.

Chicago police under fire

Documents released last year indicated police appeared to have fabricated their version of events, standing by each other in verifying the details.

But dashcam video released last year contradicted nearly everything police said happened that night. The city had fought it seeing the light of day for 13 months, but a judge ordered it released in November.

Authorities say Laquan McDonald, 17, was armed with a 4-inch knife when Officer Jason Van Dyke confronted him. The teen did not comply with "numerous police orders to drop the knife," the officer's lawyer, Daniel Herbert, told the Chicago Tribune, when Van Dyke opened fire. McDonald died after being shot 16 times.

Laquan McDonald, 17

It showed McDonald veering away from police as he held a knife, not lunging toward officers as police had said. Puffs of smoke showed McDonald’s body getting hit by bullets even after he was on the ground. The video released to the public has no audio.

The officers’ accounts of the moment of the shooting revealed stunning differences with the video, and there appeared to be a conspiracy to create a scenario that justified deadly force. Protesters took to the streets in Chicago, chanting “16 shots and a cover-up.”

A mayoral task force set up after the shooting said police “have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color” and have alienated blacks and Hispanics with the use of force and a longstanding code of silence.

Van Dyke, who has been suspended without pay, is free on bail.

He is the first Chicago officer charged with first-degree murder since 1980.

Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty to six counts of first-degree murder in McDonald’s death.

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