Cop Who Shot Laquan McDonald Enters Plea

Jason Van Dyke pleads not guilty to first-degree murder; next hearing is Jan. 29
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 29, 2015 11:07 AM CST
Cop Who Shot Laquan McDonald Enters Plea
In this Nov. 30, 2015 file photo, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke leaves the Cook County Jail after posting bond in Chicago.   (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty to six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct in the shooting of Laquan McDonald in October 2014. Van Dyke—whose lawyers say shot the 17-year-old 16 times because he feared for his life—made his first appearance in front of Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan on Tuesday, reports the Chicago Tribune. At least one person heckled Van Dyke, who has been free on a $1.5 million bond, as he entered the courtroom, per NBC Chicago. His next hearing is Jan. 29, per the AP.

Afterward, defense attorney Dan Herbert told the AP that Van Dyke is "hanging in there" and wants to show he isn't "this cold-blooded killer." The officer's lawyers previously suggested they might try to move Van Dyke's case out of Chicago after Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Van Dyke "violated both the standards of professionalism that come with being a police officer but also basic moral standards that bind our community together." Herbert told reporters on Tuesday that he hadn't ruled out a venue change. (Chicago is grappling with another lethal use of force by police.)

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