Relatives of Laquan McDonald call for peace during murder trial

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CHICAGO — The trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke begins Wednesday, and relatives of Laqaun McDonald are calling for peace, no matter what happens.

Van Dyke is charged in the murder of the 17-year-old McDonald, who was shot 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014. McDonald had been stealing car stereos with a small knife when a responding officer called in a radio request for a Taser. Van Dyke and his partner responded to the scene, but never specified whether they had a Taser. Within seconds of arriving, Van Dyke emptied his magazine into McDonald. The teen was later revealed to have PCP in his system.

Dashcam video of the shooting was released 13 months later via court order. Van Dyke was the only officer to fire his gun. McDonald did not lunge at the officer as police initially stated.

"On behalf of the Laquan McDonald family, I am asking that peace prevail no matter what the outcome of the verdict will be,” McDonald's great uncle, the Rev. Marvin Hunter, said in a statement.

“This is emotionally charged,” Hunter said Tuesday. “All it takes is for the wrong people to get involved and we’ll have a Charlottesville or even what happened with Dr. Martin Luther King.”

"Laquan is certainly the victim. However, we are not looking for revenge. We have no ill feelings toward the family of Mr. Van Dyke,” Hunter said. "I'm concerned about riots and violence because it goes hand in hand. I'm not concerned that our people don't know how to protest, but that outsiders will come in and infiltrate."

Potential jurors receive their questionnaires Wednesday. Jury selection is set to begin Monday.


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