Judge Sets Trial Date, Location for Jason Van Dyke

The former Chicago police officer fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in October 2014

What to Know

  • A judge ruled that the trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke will begin Sept. 5 in Cook County, Illinois
  • Van Dyke was charged with six counts of murder in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014
  • Tuesday's ruling was seen as a victory for the prosecution, though the defense may have a chance to bring in jurors from outside the area

A judge set a trial date and location for the Chicago police officer charged in the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald Tuesday.

The trial for Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke will begin Sept. 5, 2018, in Cook County, Illinois, Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled Tuesday.

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.

Van Dyke's attorneys 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.

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 have continued at Van Dyke's court hearings.

In August 2016, CPD Supt. Eddie Johnson recommended Van Dyke's firing to the Chicago Police Board, who granted a motion to halt the proceedings until the criminal case against Van Dyke was complete. He remains suspended from the department without pay. 

Three more pre-trial hearings will take place in late July and on Aug. 3. While Tuesday's ruling was seen as a victory for the prosecution, the final hearing will give Van Dyke's attorneys a chance to bring in jurors from outside Cook County. 

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