Jason Van Dyke Trial Live Blog: Closing Arguments Expected


What to Know

  • Van Dyke is charged with murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old McDonald nearly four years ago

  • The Chicago police officer was captured on dashcam video shooting McDonald 16 times the night of Oct. 20, 2014, on the city’s Southwest Side

  • Van Dyke entered a plea of not guilty

NBC Chicago will offer a live stream with complete coverage beginning right here. NOTE: Not all witness testimony will be available for streaming will not appear on camera. You may notice intermittent bars and pauses.

Closing arguments were expected to take place Thursday in the high-profile murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, charged in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014. 

Within seconds of court starting the previous day, the defense rested its case and prosecutors began calling rebuttal witnesses. Minutes later, both prosecution and defense rebuttal testimony ended. 

Jason Van Dyke Takes Stand, Testifies on Shooting of Laquan McDonald

In nearly three weeks of trial, the defense called 20 witnesses, including Van Dyke himself, to make their case that McDonald, a black teenager armed with a knife, posed a threat when Van Dyke, a white officer, opened fire on him. 

Prosecutors tried to highlight inconsistencies in Van Dyke’s testimony, particularly in comparison with dashcam video of the shooting released in 2015.

With regards to Van Dyke’s claim that McDonald raised his knife and attempted to get off the ground, prosecutors asked why that isn’t in the infamous video – to which Van Dyke repeated that the video didn’t show his perspective. 

Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder more than a year after he shot McDonald on the city’s Southwest Side. He also faces 16 counts of aggravated battery – one for each shot fired – and one count of official misconduct. He entered a plea of not guilty. 

The shooting and subsequent release of the video prompted massive protests across the city and catapulted Chicago into the national spotlight. In the aftermath, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired the city’s police superintendent and voters ousted the Cook County state’s attorney in the following primary election. 

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[NATL CHI] An Emotional Van Dyke Details What He Saw in Shooting of Laquan McDonald

The case also sparked an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice that found the Chicago Police Department engaged in systemic violation of civil rights for years. A new consent decree was put into place in September that promised reforms. 

Special prosecutors rested their case against Van Dyke last Thursday after calling 24 witnesses over three and a half days.

Following closing arguments, Van Dyke’s fate will be in the hands of the jury, made up of 8 women and 4 men tasked with deciding what really happened on that October night in 2014. 


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