Prosecutors in Chicago added 16 new counts against policeman Jason Van Dyke’s first degree murder charges in the shooting death of LaQuan McDonald.
Earlier this month, a grand jury reviewing the case placed on an additional 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, one for each shot fired at the 17-year-old in the 2014 incident. Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon requested the new charges at a hearing on Thursday. He had previously been charged with six counts of first degree murder and a count of official misconduct.
Van Dyke was initially indicted in McDonald’s death in 2015 and the case was one of many that sparked nationwide protest over the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement. Dashcam video of McDonald showed him walking away from police when he was shot. Van Dyke was suspended without pay after he was indicted.
Van Dyke initially pleaded not guilty to the charges against him and in January his lawyers motioned for them to be dropped. They said prosecutors gave the original grand jury that brought back the first indictment misleading information and that then-Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez rushed the case because of public interest. Alvarez, who stepped down from the case, was defeated in an election last year by the new State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx.
If convicted Van Dyke could face up to life in prison. His next hearing takes place April 20.