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Almost three years after Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald was killed by Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, a trial date has finally been set.
Seventeen-year-old McDonald was shot 16 times on October 20, 2014. Video of the fatal shooting shows McDonald with a small knife walking away from officers. Officer Van Dyke opened fire from about 15 feet and kept shooting after the teen fell to the ground.
The footage sparked days of street demonstrations, the forced resignation of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and a broad federal civil rights investigation of the police department’s practices and how allegations of officer misconduct are handled.
Judge Vincent Gaughan claimed that the reason for the lengthy delay in the trial date for the officer, was because it involved a large amount of paperwork related to the case, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.
A Cook County Judge, picked the trial date of September 5, 2018.
Community activist William Calloway released the horrific dash cam footage of officer Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald a total of 16 times. He was charged with first-degree murder, official misconduct and 16 counts of aggravated battery.
There’s still no word where the trial will be held.
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Calloway was glad to hear that a date was finally set in what he called “the worst case of excessive force by Chicago police.”
“It took ‘em 400 days after the shooting to be charged, it took ’em 2 1/2 years to have a trial date set,” Calloway told reporters.
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“I think it’s a spirit of jubilee on me and on the community that a trial date has been set and in less than two months [Van Dyke] will face justice.”
Although there have been multiple accounts of Chicago Police officers shooting unarmed Black men, the shooting death of Laquan McDonald is the first case in which an officer has been charged with an on-duty shooting in over a decade.