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Murder Trial For Chicago Cop Who Shot and Killed Laquan McDonald Begins

laquan mcdonald, victim, prosecutor

The murder trial of the Chicago cop who shot and killed a Black teenager, Laquan McDonald, in 2014, is set to begin on Monday.

Attorneys for Officer Jason Van Dyke, 40, have argued that their client won’t be able to get a fair trial in Cook County due to the publicity of the case.

A ruling by Judge Vincent Gaughan on the defense team’s request is expected to be handed down before the start of the trial, but it’s unlikely that the trial will be moved out of the county since the Jury has already been selected, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The Chicago police officer faces six counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct stemming from the October 2014 incident.

Van Dyke and other officers at the scene said that Laquan McDonald, who was holding a knife, had threatened officers with a weapon, but police dashcam footage released a year after the shooting contradicted the officers’ claims.

The video showed McDonald walking away from the police and captured Van Dyke shooting him within seconds of leaving his vehicle.

According to the Tribune, people have criticized the lack of diversity on the jury, as it features one Black person, one Asian person, three Hispanic people and seven Whites.

Per the Tribune, the jury includes:

A financial analyst, an aspiring Chicago police officer, a stay-at-home mother and a man whose church encouraged its members to speak with black people about their experiences with racial injustice.

The trial is expected to last around three weeks and if convicted for murder, Van Dyke may face up to life in prison.

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