Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who faces a first-degree-murder charge in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, entered a not-guilty plea at his Tuesday-morning arraignment, the Chicago Tribune reports.
According to the report, it was the first time Van Dyke appeared before Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan, who is hearing the case. His charges include six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct. As the Tribune notes, the indictment against Van Dyke earlier this month is the first time in over three decades that a Chicago officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty death.
Van Dyke was suspended without pay after he was charged.
The Tribune notes that on Dec. 18, the officer's lawyer, Daniel Herbert, mentioned that he was considering seeking a change of location out of Cook County because of concerns regarding comments made by Mayor Rahm Emanuel about the case and Van Dyke.
The Chicago Sun-Times notes that Herbert has said before that Emanuel "has essentially told everyone in the public, everyone in the City Council, that my client actually murdered Mr. McDonald, and [that] he's a bad apple and that he doesn't belong in the police department and he committed acts that were indefensible."
Herbert has maintained that his client feared for his life when he shot the teen repeatedly, hitting him 16 times.