Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke has been formally indicted on six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct for fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, the Chicago Tribune has learned.
The case has created a firestorm after the release last month of a dash-cam video showed Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times within seconds of stepping out of his police car as the Black teen moved away from the white officer.
Hours before city officials made the video public Nov. 24 on orders of a Cook County judge, prosecutors charged Van Dyke with a single count of first-degree murder. State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez acknowledged that she made the announcement earlier than planned out of concern for “public safety.”
Court records show that Alvarez’s office obtained the seven-count indictment from a grand jury Tuesday. An FBI agent testified before the grand jury, according to the records.
Van Dyke, who was freed on $1.5 million bail Nov. 30 after spending six nights in Cook County Jail, is scheduled to return Friday to the Leighton Criminal Court Building. The presiding judge will later randomly assign a judge to preside over the high-profile case. Van Dyke is expected to plead not guilty then before that judge.
His lawyer could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening, but he has previously said Van Dyke feared for his life when he shot McDonald on a Southwest Side street in October 2014.