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Chicago officer accused of killing Laquan McDonald says he's not a racist

In his first comments since he was charged with the murder of Laquan McDonald, Chicago Police officer Jason ...

Posted: Sep 6, 2018 4:30 AM
Updated: Sep 6, 2018 4:30 AM

In his first comments since he was charged with the murder of Laquan McDonald, Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke rejected the idea that he was a racist officer.

"Everyone wants to be part of the bandwagon of hatred. Anyone who knows me, knows me personally, knows ... that I'm not a racist," he told The Chicago Tribune. "That's a great false narrative. ... It's just slander."

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"I think I was a great police officer," he added. "I always made efforts to treat everybody fairly and with respect and the way I wanted my own family to be treated."

The comments were his first public statements since Van Dyke, who is white, fatally shot McDonald, a black 17-year-old, in October 2014. He was arrested and charged with first-degree murder and other firearm offenses on the same day that video of the interaction was released in November 2015, sparking protests across the city.

The incident began when police received reports of a young black man attempting to break into vehicles. As police officers arrived to the scene, Van Dyke stepped out of his vehicle and fired at McDonald for 15 seconds, shooting him 16 times, an autopsy found.

Van Dyke said after the incident that McDonald had a knife and was swinging it in an "aggressive, exaggerated manner," and his fellow officers backed up his account.

However, the release of video of the shooting contradicted the police version of events and led to protests in Chicago and calls for Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign.

Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty to the charges. His trial is scheduled for September 5.

Ahead of the trial, Van Dyke spoke with the Tribune for 40 minutes and did not comment on the shooting or its aftermath. He argued that the investigation into McDonald's shooting was different than others, the Tribune wrote.

"I think there's been a lot of external political pressures," he said. "It just seems like politics has been involved with this since the beginning."

He also said that he prays every day for McDonald's family: "I offer up a rosary every day."

Van Dyke could face up to life in prison if he's convicted of the murder charge. He told the Tribune he's nervous about that possibility.

"Of course, I'm extremely nervous," he said. "I might be looking at the possibility of spending the rest of my life in prison for doing my job as I was trained as a Chicago police officer."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
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Tate354988
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Coahoma315685
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Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
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Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
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