Chicago Police

Jason Van Dyke to Appear in Court Thursday

The Chicago police officer charged in the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald was scheduled to appear in court again Thursday.

Jason Van Dyke was captured on dashcam video shooting 17-year-old McDonald 16 times the night of Oct. 20, 2014 on the city's Southwest Side. He was charged with six counts of first-degree murder in November 2015, and 16 counts of aggravated battery in March 2017.

Van Dyke entered a plea of not guilty. No trial date has been set, as hearings continue at the Cook County Courthouse.

Van Dyke's attorneys have asked for the trial to be moved outside the Chicago area, insisting that extensive publicity on the high-profile case would make it impossible for a fair jury to be selected in Cook County.

To prove their case, they've subpoenaed three newspapers for copies of every story published on the case.

Attorneys for Van Dyke had also previously filed motions to dismiss murder charges against the officer, saying a grand jury "hastily" indicted him based on false information and that the shooting was in fact "justified."

A judge declined to dismiss the murder charges in May 2017. 

Public outcry in the case sparked change at the Chicago Police Department and beyond, from the firing of then-Supt. Garry McCarthy to the electoral ousting of former State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, as well as the creation of the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability to investigate officer-involved shootings.

Three other Chicago police officers were also charged with multiple felonies - conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice - for allegedly attempting to prevent or shape the investigation, special prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes said in June 2017.

Dashcam video of McDonald's shooting was released in December 2015, sparking widespread protests that still continue at Van Dyke's court hearings.

A group of activists planned to gather for a protest at the courthouse Thursday, demanding that a trial date be set.

Van Dyke's hearing was scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

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