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Cop Who Fatally Shot Laquan McDonald Pleads Not Guilty To Murder

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Dec 29, 2015 7:00PM

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer who fatally shot teenage Laquan McDonald 16 times last year, is pleading not guilty to the murder charges he now faces over the shooting, which came to light last month.

The not guilty plea comes at a challenging time for Chicago's police force and police forces around the country grappling with problems over misuse of force and the racial profiling of young people of color. The city has vowed to revamp how it trains officers responding to crises in the wake of the accidental fatal shooting of two neighbors, a 19-year-old man and a 55-year-old mother of three, over the weekend.

Van Dyke is facing six counts of murder and one count of misconduct over McDonald's October, 2014 shooting, in which he can be seen in a harrowing video unloading 16 bullets into McDonald as the 17-year-old walked away from a ring of police cars.

Van Dyke was indicted on six murder charges earlier this month. The indictment says that Van Dyke shot McDonald knowing it "created a strong probability of death or great bodily harm."

McDonald's great-uncle, Marvin Hunter, told the Tribune he wants Van Dyke's trial to be televised so that it holds the public officials involved more accountable. The judge apparently would have allowed Tuesday's hearing to be videotaped, but no one recorded it.