Trial date set for Chicago officer charged with murdering Laquan McDonald

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CHICAGO — A trial date has been set for the Chicago police officer charged with murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder, official misconduct and aggravated battery.

He will face trial Sept. 5, a Cook County judge announced Tuesday. It was not immediately clear whether Van Dyke will seek a jury or bench trial. Defense attorney Dan Herbert has long sought to move the trial out of Cook County, arguing that potential jurors will have been tainted by citywide protests and extensive media coverage of the case. No ruling has been made in that matter; a hearing to review a change-of-venue motion is slated for Aug. 3.

Van Dyke, who is free on bond, will next appear in court for a status hearing July 27.

He fatally shot McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014, in the Archer Heights neighborhood. According to prosecutors, McDonald was stealing car radios and was armed with a 3-inch blade when police called in a radio request for a Taser.

Van Dyke and his partner responded to the call, but never specified whether they had a Taser. Within seconds of arriving on the scene, Van Dyke pulled his gun and emptied his magazine into McDonald, shooting the teen 16 times. Video of the shooting, which was released via court order in November 2015, sparked citywide protests that shut down the Mag Mile.

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