The family of teenager Laquan McDonald is seeing justice served to the officer who killed their son.
A Chicago judge prosecuted police officer Jason Van Dyke on 16 new criminal charges related to the 2014 death of Laquan McDonald. Originally, he received only six counts of first-degree murder. Accordingly, the judge charged him with 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and a charge for each shot he administered toward McDonald.
While police insist that McDonald attacked Van Dyke and other officers, dashcam footage shows otherwise. On Oct. 20, 2014, the video shows the teenagers walking away from police. While he was holding a 4-inch knife, he did not lunge toward officers as they reported.
Only 6 seconds after arriving on scene, Van Dyke shot McDonald. Furthermore, he emptied every round in his gun within 15 seconds. The video also showed that Van Dyke continued to shoot, even after McDonald was on the ground. All 16 bullets hit the 17-year-old, hitting his chest, back, neck, scalp, arms, right hand and leg.
Despite the evidence against his case, Van Dyke pled not guilty for McDonald’s murder. He claimed that McDonald refused to drop the knife and pointed it at the officer. He also said the teen wielded the knife “in an aggressive, exaggerated manner.”
His next court appearance is April 20.
The five other police officers present at the incident supported Van Dyke’s account. Furthermore, officials refused to release the dashcam footage to the public until 400 days after the incident. A Chicago judge finally ordered its reveal the following year. Additionally, reports indicate that a district manager for the Burger King across the street of the crime scene told a federal jury that police officers deleted 86 minutes of security footage from the food chain’s system.
If Van Dyke is convicted, then he will face life in prison.
The officer joined the Chicago Police department in 2001. Since then, many have accused him of making racist comments, manhandling suspects, and misuse of his gun. Department officials never pursued any of those complaints.