Chicago police officer charged with killing black teen to appear in court

Reuters News
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Posted: Nov 30, 2015 9:24 AM

By Mary Wisniewski

CHICAGO (Reuters) - A white Chicago police officer charged with murder after a dashboard camera video showed him shooting a black teenager 16 times is scheduled to learn whether he will be offered bond in court on Monday.

The hearing for Officer Jason Van Dyke, 37, comes after several days of protests following the release last Tuesday of the video recording, which showed him gunning down 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in the middle of the street on Oct. 20, 2014, as he was walking away from police who had confronted him. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder.

The case comes amid a national debate on race and police tactics sparked by a series of high-profile killings of unarmed black men at the hands of mainly white law enforcement officials in several U.S. cities over the past two years, leading to widespread demonstrations and some violent unrest.

Van Dyke began his incarceration under protective custody at a hospital facility segregated from the general population of Cook County Jail, the county sheriff's office said.

No information was given about his medical condition.

Van Dyke was denied bail at a hearing last Tuesday in Chicago's main criminal courthouse hours after the criminal charge was announced. He could face 20 years to life in prison if convicted.

Cook County Circuit Court Associate Judge Donald Panarese scheduled the Monday hearing to reconsider bail based on the content of the video.

The video clip, taken by a camera mounted on the dashboard of a squad car, showed McDonald being shot as he turned away from officers. Police were responding to reports that McDonald had a knife and was suspected of burglarizing cars, police said.

(Editing by Bernadette Baum)