Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Charged With Murder, Laquan McDonald Video Ordered Released

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke charged with murder

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald. The arrest comes almost a year after the shooting and as calls for the police to release video from the dashboard camera video intensify.

Officer Jason Van Dyke was arrested and held without bail a little over a year after the shooting. Days earlier, a Chicago judge ordered law enforcement officials in Chicago to release the video from the shooting, which was captured by a dashboard camera in a police car. As per the judge’s order, the Laquan McDonald video must be released no later than Wednesday, and Chicago is bracing for potential riots, the New York Times reports.

According to Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez, Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke turned himself over to authorities early Tuesday. The police officer accused of murdering Laquan McDonald was clad in a sweater and jeans while standing quietly on Tuesday afternoon as the prosecutor described the shooting, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Cook County Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Officer Van Dyke held without bail after the first-degree murder charges in the Laquan McDonald shooting case were read. The attorney for the Chicago cop said that his client committed a lawful shooting while on duty to protect himself and others.

Laquan McDonald, 17, was reportedly shot 16 times by Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with a host of local pastors and community activists this week over concerns that the graphic Laquan McDonald video could spark unrest and violence in the city. Chicago is the third-largest nation in the city. All too vivid memories of the Ferguson and Baltimore riots likely loom in the minds of Emanuel and local leaders. Protesters angry about police shootings raided, looted, and set fire to local businesses during recent riots over alleged police brutality.

Black Youth Project 100, a national organization of activists aged 35 and younger, said no to a meeting with Chicago city officials, saying they should be placing attention on “police violence” and not the possible response to the release of the Laquan McDonald video.

This undated autopsy diagram provided by the Cook County Medical Examiner's office shows the location of wounds on the body of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who was shot by a Chicago Police officer 16 times in 2014. A judge on Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015 ordered the city to release squad car dashcam video of the shooting. The officer has been stripped of his police powers, but remains at work on desk duty. (Cook County Medical Examiner via AP)

Van Dyke reportedly appears to be the first on-duty Chicago cop police charged in connection to a shooting in the city. McDonald was fatally shot on October 20, 2014. He was shot after police officers were called to investigate reports of a man breaking into cars. According to the officers, McDonald lunged at them with a knife, causing Van Dyke to draw his sidearm and fire his weapon in self-defense.

Attorneys for the family of Laquan said the graphic video contradicts the accounting by the police officers. The family says the dashcam video proves the Chicago cop shot the young man as he was walking away. None of the other officers involved in the incident fired their weapons.

The City of Chicago agreed to a $5 million settlement in the fatal shooting before the McDonald family filed a lawsuit.

Officer Jason Van Dyke is the 15th police officer to be charged with murder or manslaughter in relation to an on-duty shooting in the United States so far this year.

[Photo by Cook County Sheriff’s Office/AP Photo]