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Chicago police officer pleads not guilty to murder of black teen who was shot 16 times

The incident occurred in 2014 and led to protests in Chicago.

Image: AP

A WHITE CHICAGO police officer charged with murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald has pleaded not guilty.

Jason Van Dyke faces six counts of first-degree murder and one of official misconduct in the 17-year-old’s death. The officer appeared in front of Judge Vincent Gaughan in Cook County Criminal Court wearing a dark suit and blue striped tie. The next hearing is set for January 29.

Van Dyke’s defence attorney, Dan Herbert, said his client is “hanging in there” and wants to tell his side of the story so that he’s not seen “as this cold-blooded killer”. Herbert also said that they haven’t ruled out asking for a change of venue.

Cook County attorneys were not available for comment after the arraignment.

Dashcam video

Public outcry has been furious since a dashcam video was released last month showing the veteran officer shooting McDonald 16 times. The teenager, armed with a knife, was veering away from officers when Van Dyke opened fire.

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.

Shootings in Chicago

Over the weekend, Chicago police shot and killed two other people, a 55-year-old woman who was shot accidentally and a 19-year-old man who police have said was “combative” before he was shot. The department will not say how many officers fired their weapons or what the two people were doing before they were shot.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who has been the target of heavy criticism and calls for his resignation since the McDonald video was released, was due to return this afternoon from a family vacation in Cuba.

Herbert, the lawyer for Van Dyke, said policy changes in the Chicago Police Department, which Emanuel’s office has hinted at and may include more education, would be beneficial.

Read: Chicago “on the tipping point” as police get ready to release video of officer shooting black teenager 16 times>

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