New Charges for Cop Who Killed Laquan McDonald

Sixteen counts of aggravated assault—one per bullet—in addition to murder.

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke at a court hearing in February.Antonio Perez/AP

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Prosecutors have announced that Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke will face additional criminal charges in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014. Van Dyke, 38, was indicted last week on 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm—one count, apparently, for each bullet he fired at McDonald. The charges were announced Thursday morning. The new indictment—which also includes charges of first-degree murder and misconduct—replaces the original indictment.

Van Dyke was initially charged in late 2015, more than a year after the shooting, after a judge ordered the release of police dash-cam footage. Protests rocked Chicago for days. Last August, Chicago’s police chief Eddie Johnson recommended that several officers be fired or suspended over their conduct involving the McDonald shooting and investigation.

Last August, Chicago’s former top prosecutor Anita Alvarez—whose handling of the case may have cost her her job—turned the case over to special prosecutor Joseph McMahon. Van Dyke’s lawyers have tried to have the original charges against him dismissed, arguing that Alvarez tainted the original grand jury proceedings with “irregularities” while under intense pressure from the public and city officials to secure charges. On Thursday, the officer’s lawyers said in court that they saw the special prosecutor’s decision to replace the original indictment as acknowledgement that the grand jury process was riddled with problems. They also said they would file a motion to dismiss the new indictment. Van Dyke’s next court date has been set for April 20.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate