The Chicago Police Officer Charged with the Murder of Laquan McDonald

10 p.m. Oct. 20, 2014.

At about 10 p.m. on October 20, 2014, Officer Jason Van Dyke of the Chicago Police Department responded to a call regarding a man with a knife acting erratically.

When Officer Van Dyke arrived at the scene, he saw the suspect, Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old boy walking in the middle of the street with a small knife.  Other officers had reported that while McDonald had slashed the tires of their patrol car and otherwise had done some property damage, he had not attacked any of the officers.

Officer Van Dyke and an unnamed partner exited their patrol car in front of McDonald.  McDonald continued to walk in their general direction.  Officer Van Dyke drew his firearm and aimed it at McDonald.  McDonald continued to walk but did not take any action indicating he was about to attack Officer Van Dyke.  When McDonald was approximately ten feet away from Officer Van Dyke, the officer took a step towards McDonald and then shot at McDonald sixteen times.

McDonald was shot several times, fell to the ground, and in dash cam footage, it appears that Officer Van Dyke continued to fire when McDonald was on the ground.  McDonald died soon after.  Despite multiple officers being present at the scene, Officer Van Dyke was the only one who opened fire.

The nearby Burger King had several cameras pointed in the area.  Shortly after the shooting, several officers entered the restaurant, locked themselves into the security room and then deleted video footage of the incident from security tapes.

Over the next 13 months, Chicago residents protested and only begrudgingly, the Police Department released the dash cam video which appears to depict Officer Van Dyke shooting McDonald to death without McDonald taking any action to threaten Officer Van Dyke’s safety.

Officer Van Dyke was charged with murder and posted bail.  Shortly thereafter, the head of the Chicago Police Department was fired by the mayor.

Related article:

Dash Cam footage:



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