A white Chicago policeman was charged on Tuesday with murdering a black teenager, a prosecution that was speeded up in hopes of staving off a fresh burst of the turmoil over race and police use of deadly force that has shaken the United States for more than a year.
Officer Jason Van Dyke, 37, was denied bail at a hearing in Chicago’s main criminal courthouse hours after top Cook County prosecutor Anita Alvarez announced charges of first-degree murder. If convicted, Van Dyke could face 20 years to life in prison.
At the brief court hearing, prosecutor Bill Delaney told Cook County Circuit Court Associate Judge Donald Panarese that a video of the Oct. 20, 2014 shooting does not show Laquan McDonald, 17, who was armed with a knife, advancing on Van Dyke, and that witnesses concur on that fact.
A highly anticipated video of the shooting will be released on Tuesday afternoon, local media said. Authorities had previously said the video would be released on Wednesday.
McDonald was shot 16 times by Van Dyke, who emptied his gun and prepared to reload, prosecutors said. Van Dyke has said through his lawyer and the police union that the shooting was justified because he felt threatened by McDonald.
“Clearly, this officer went overboard and he abused his authority, and I don’t think use of force was necessary,” Alvarez said at a news conference after the hearing.
The judge scheduled another hearing for Monday and asked to see the video then in order to reconsider the issue of bond.&