Chicago Officer Pleads Not Guilty To Murder Of Black Teen

Photo: Zbigniew Bzdak/AP Photo.
The Associated Press reports that Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago officer accused the shooting death of a Black teenager, pleaded not guilty to murder charges on Tuesday. Van Dyke faces six counts of first-degree murder in the death of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old who was shot and killed by police in October of 2014. Dashcam video of the shooting shows Van Dyke arriving at the scene; the officer emptied his gun in less than 30 seconds. McDonald was shot 16 times, and many of the bullets hit the boy after he was on the ground. Chicago authorities refused to release the video to the public until November, one day before a judge’s order would have forced its release. After the video’s release, protesters marched in the streets to demand accountability, chanting, “16 shots.” Sadly, it’s not the only recent case of the use of deadly police force in Chicago. On Saturday, police responding to a domestic-violence call fatally shot two people. Chicagoist reported that officers shot and killed Quintonio LeGrier, a 19-year-old engineering student, and Bettie Jones, his downstairs neighbor. Jones, a 55-year-old grandmother, was reportedly a bystander. LeGrier’s father has filed a wrongful-death lawsuit against the city for his son’s death, alleging that his son had not broken any laws or done anything to suggest he was armed at the time he was shot. On Monday, prosecutors announced that the officers who shot and killed 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland will not face criminal charges. Rice was playing with a pellet gun in a public park when police officers shot him within seconds of arriving on the scene in late 2014. The announcement comes a week after officials in Texas announced that jail officials would not be charged in the death of Sandra Bland, another highly publicized case in 2015. Bland, a 28-year-old Black woman, died in police custody after being arrested during a traffic stop.

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