The Chicago police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald — a shooting that sparked intense protests and calls for the mayor to resign — will be arraigned Tuesday.
Jason Van Dyke is out of jail on bond. He’s expected to appear in court in the morning and enter a plea.
He faces charges of first-degree murder and one of official misconduct in the October 2014 shooting that was captured on police dashboard camera video. A freelance journalist sued to have the footage released, arguing it was a public record. Mayor Rahm Emanuel said he thought releasing it would jeopardize a federal probe of the case, but a judge found in the reporter’s favor and the video became public in November 2015.
The video shows McDonald walking down the middle of the street. Police later said he held a four-inch knife in his hand. At least two squad cars are visible on the video, and McDonald can be seen walking away from officers, his back to them when he is shot 16 times.
Van Dyke had a history of complaints previous to McDonald’s shooting. He was cleared in almost every case. The allegations mostly involve excessive force, and at least one complaint alleges he used a racial slur. There appear to have been no criminal proceedings against Van Dyke before he was charged in McDonald’s death, but a jury did award a Chicago man $350,000 after determining Van Dyke employed excessive force during a traffic stop.
Van Dyke is white. McDonald was black.