Chicago Cop Who Allegedly Shot Teen Laquan McDonald 16 Times Charged With Murder

Police Officer Jason Van Dyke allegedly shot Laquan McDonald in 2014.

ByABC News
November 24, 2015, 4:54 PM

— -- A Chicago police officer has been charged with murder after fatally shooting a teen in 2014, allegedly hitting the teen 16 times and firing shots after he had already hit the ground, authorities said today.

Officer Jason Van Dyke turned himself in at the Cook County Courthouse this morning and prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder. He is being held without bond and will be back in court on Monday, Nov. 30, authorities said.

Van Dyke is accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014. The white officer reportedly shot the black teen 16 times, and the Associated Press reported that the autopsy report found two of the shots were fired into his back.

Dash cam footage of the incident shows that McDonald was on the ground for 13 of the 14 to 15 seconds that Van Dyke was shooting, prosecutors said today.

A judge has ordered that the video be released by the end of the day Wednesday, and the judge at Van Dyke's bond hearing today said that the footage should be shown in court at Van Dyke's Nov. 30 hearing.

A prosecutor at Van Dyke's hearing described the footage, detailing how Van Dyke started shooting 6 seconds after getting out of his squad car. He fired 16 shots in the span of 14 to 15 seconds, the prosecutor said, noting that the video shows that McDonald never made a move toward Van Dyke, but Van Dyke did take at least one step toward McDonald, who was armed with a knife with a 3-inch blade.

The release of the video will likely prompt public outrage, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said this afternoon.

"To watch a 17-year-old young man die in such a violent manner is deeply disturbing and I have absolutely no doubt that this video will tear at the hearts of all Chicagoans," Alvarez said at a news conference.

Court documents released today detail how officers saw "puffs of smoke" when bullets hit McDonald's body while he was on the ground.

"These clouds of smoke were later identified as clouds of debris caused by fired bullets," the document reads.

PHOTO: Laquan McDonald is pictured in this undated file photo.
Laquan McDonald is pictured in this undated file photo.

The police squad car dash cam video from October 2014 allegedly shows McDonald walking away from a group of police officers with a small knife in his hand, according to lawyers for Laquan's family who said they have a copy of the video.

Chicago police officials have said officers were responding to a call about a person walking down a street with a knife, and that McDonald refused to drop the knife when ordered to do so by officers.

Van Dyke had been put on paid administrative leave since the shooting, police said.

Van Dyke's attorney Dan Herbert gave a statement after the bond hearing, saying that he anticipates that people will form opinions "about the split-second actions of my client."

"It's certainly everyone's right to make a judgment about it but I would just state that the judgment made by individuals who have viewed this tape from the comfort of their living room, on their sofa ... it's not the same," Herbert said.

Even though the family had not filed a lawsuit, the City of Chicago approved a $5 million settlement with McDonald's family this past April after being advised to do so by a city attorney who had seen the video, according to the AP, which also noted that a grand jury was called in this case to decide whether to press charges against Van Dyke.

The attorneys representing McDonald's family released a statement thanking people for the "outpouring of love and support" but urging calm when the video is released. The family reiterates that they "would prefer" the video not be released.

"No one understands the anger more than us but if you choose to speak out, we urge you to be peaceful. Don’t resort to violence in Laquan’s name. Let his legacy be better than that," attorneys Michael D. Robbins and Jeffrey J. Neslund said in a statement.

ABC News' Whitney Lloyd and Alex Perez contributed to this report.