The Jason Van Dyke Trial: A timeline of events following the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald
Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shot and killed Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014. Nearly four years later, the officer — who was suspended without pay since being charged with first-degree murder in November 2015 — heads to trial for shooting the 17-year-old Chicago resident.
Dashcam video footage of McDonald’s death was released in November 2015. In the video, McDonald is seen walking down the street with officers on both sides of him. Soon after, Van Dyke fires his gun; autopsy reports show that he was shot 16 times.
On Wednesday, jury selection is set to begin in the trial. Here are some notable events that took place between the night of the shooting until now.
Oct. 20, 2014: Jason Van Dyke shoots Laquan McDonald 16 times in various spots on his body, even after the teenager has fallen to the ground.
April 15, 2015: The Chicago City Council approves a $5 million settlement for the McDonald family. The verdict was reportedly reached in a matter of seconds — the entire city council approved the settlement, 47-0.
May 26, 2015: Freelance journalist Brandon Smith files a request using the Freedom of Information Act to the Chicago Police Department to release the video from the night of the shooting. After three extensions, the police department denies the request.
Nov. 24, 2015: After a judge ordered the video’s release, dashcam police video is made public that shows McDonald’s interaction with the Chicago police on the night of Oct 20. Van Dyke is charged with the murder of McDonald on six counts. Van Dyke is suspended without pay.
Dec. 1, 2015: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel formally asks for the resignation of Garry F. McCarthy, Chicago’s police superintendent. The police department faced blowback following the release of the video depicting Van Dyke gunning down McDonald.
Dec. 14, 2015: CBS reports that two officers involved in the investigation, Dave McNaughton and Eugene Roy, receive promotions from the interim Superintendent John Escalante.
March 15, 2016: Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez loses re-election to Democrat Kim Foxx, after grassroots organizing in Chicago spent months campaigning to mobilize voters to get her out of office because of her handling of the investigation.
Jan. 13, 2017: The Justice Department releases its report on the Chicago Police Department. They found that the department “engaged in a pattern or practice of abuses that federal officials attributed to “deficiencies” in how the CPD trains, investigates and punishes officers on the use of force,” Mic reported.
June 27, 2017: Three officers — David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney — are indicted on charges regarding official misconduct, obstruction of justice and an attempt to cover up the McDonald shooting.
Aug. 7, 2018: Cook County judge rules that attorneys will be allowed to play video of the shooting during the trial.
Aug. 29, 2018: The Chicago Tribune publishes first interview with Van Dyke since his arrest in November 2015, in which he expresses regret for the shooting. According to relatives of McDonald, the interview is simply a publicity stunt meant to sway jurors in advance of the trial.
Sept. 5, 2018: Jury selection is set to begin in the trial.