November 25, 2015
Chicago, Illinois — Hours after a Chicago police officer was held without bond on a first-degree murder charge, the city released a shocking police dash-cam video that captured the white officer opening fire on an African American teen, shooting him 16 times and killing him.
In October 2014, police were responding to reports of car break-ins near 40th and Karlov when they came across 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Police said McDonald, who had PCP in his system when he died, was behaving erratically and refusing police commands to drop a folding knife with a 3-inch blade.
Officer Jason Van Dyke opened fire just six seconds after exiting his squad car as McDonald was walking away from him. Van Dyke then fired 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds and was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire.
At the time of the shooting, the police union maintained that the officer fired in fear for his life because the teen lunged at him and his partner with the knife.
The evidence clearly shows otherwise.
McDonald’s autopsy found he was shot once on each side of his chest and suffered single bullet wounds in the scalp and neck, two in his back, seven in his arms, one in his right hand and two in his right leg.
Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Van Dyke to be held without bail until the judge can view the video Monday. Van Dyke showed no emotion as he was led from the courtroom in custody.
This case marks the first time a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality in nearly 35 years. Van Dyke faces a minimum of 20 years in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.