Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke pleaded not guilty to the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald on Tuesday.
Although McDonald had a knife during the shooting, he was deviating away from Van Dyke, who was about 20 to 25 feet away.
The Chicago cop shot the young man 16 times in October 2014, but he was not even criminally charged until 13 months later.
And only because the dash cam video took 13 months to be released to the public.
Van Dyke was the only officer on scene to fire his gun.
The Chicago community was outraged, which prompted Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel to fire the head of police, Garry McCarthy.
Prior to his arrest, Van Dyke was the subject of at least 20 excessive force complaints; one of them resulting in the accuser being awarded $350,000 in 2007. The city of Chicago awarded McDonald’s mother $5 million in April.
There was also a complaint that Van Dyke used a racial slur during an arrest a few years ago.
Now, Van Dyke, faces six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct. He has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the investigation.
Van Dyke’s attorney is sticking with his spiel:
“He truly was in fear for his life, as well as the lives of his fellow officers.”
His wife Tiffany called him a “decorated and respected officer.” She set up a $80,000 go fund me account for her husband, but site administrators took it down, citing they don’t participate in fund raising related to criminal investigations.
The next court date is set for January 29th.
Local Pastor Marvin Hunter said, “There is a culture within the Chicago Police Department where police feel comfortable with murdering African-American people.”
Over the past 3 years Chicago police have been caught up in a multifaceted web of shooting and killing African Americans while on duty. Over the weekend, two African American people were shot and killed by Chicago police during a domestic disturbance.
All of the police involved killings have been enough to the point that Mayor Emmanuel plans to outline changes in Chicago police training and tactics. The Chicago Tribune reports that the Mayor wants to initiate training that teaches officers’ do deescalate situations rather than be too quick to use deadly force.
The Mayor also wants to put tasers in every officer’s arsenal by the summer of 2016.