The Slatest

Chicago Officer Who Shot Laquan McDonald Pleads Not Guilty to Murder Charge

Laquan McDonald lying lifeless on the street, Oct. 24, 2014.
Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke leaves the Criminal Courts Building after pleading not guilty to first-degree murder charges related to the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on Dec. 29, 2015, in Chicago.

Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times and killed him, pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder on Tuesday.

Van Dyke has been out on $1.5 million bail since last month on murder and official misconduct charges and this was the first time he appeared in front of the judge who will hear his case, the Chicago Tribune reported. 

The paper also reported that Van Dyke’s lawyer had previously said he was considering seeking a change of venue, citing Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s comments about the case. Emanuel has described Van Dyke as “a person taking the law into their own hands” and “not using the judgment that is expected,” and called the shooting “profoundly hideous.”

More from the Tribune:

The indictment against Van Dyke, 37, marked the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in nearly 35 years.

The Police Department suspended Van Dyke without pay after he was charged. Van Dyke had been placed on paid desk duty after the shooting last year.

Van Dyke was reported to be the only officer at the scene to fire at McDonald, who was walking down the middle of the street with a knife when he was shot.