Chicago police officer pleads not guilty to murder charges

CHICAGO -- A white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of a black teenager pleaded not guilty Tuesday.

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Jason Van Dyke faces six counts of first-degree murder and one of official misconduct in 17-year-old Laquan McDonald's death.

He appeared in front of Judge Vincent Gaughan in Cook County Criminal Court and was dressed in a dark suit and blue striped tie. The next hearing is set for Jan. 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.

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.

Over the weekend, Chicago Police killed two other people, a 55-year-old woman who was shot accidentally and a 19-year-old man whom 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.

Several police shootings of African-Americans in the past year have sparked the nationwide "Black Lives Matter" movement.


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