Chicago Cop Awaiting Trial for Death of Laquan McDonald Wants Guards for Court Appearances For ‘Personal Safety’

Chicago Tribune

Chicago Tribune

After previously requesting to skip court, the Chicago cop who killed Laquan McDonald is now asking for guards to protect him for his criminal hearings.

Atlanta Black Star reported James Van Dyke is awaiting trial for the shooting death of McDonald. In November 2015, he was charged with first-degree murder in the incident.

Dashcam video was released hours after the indictment in spite of the Chicago Police Department trying to withhold it. It debunked the original claim that 17-year-old McDonald was charging at officers, causing them to shoot him out of fear for their safety. Van Dyke later plead not guilty to shooting the victim 16 times as the teen walked away.

In March, Van Dyke’s attorney Dan Herbert claimed his client was faced with protestors who called him “white devil” outside of court. He also said that the suspended officer’s “personal safety has been jeopardized.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Herbert made a court filing Wednesday suggesting that Cook County sheriff’s deputies guard his client as he enters and exits the Leighton Criminal Court Building. Herbert notes that prosecutors for the case first proposed the option.

Prosecutors made the suggestion because they say allowing Van Dyke to miss court appearances would create a “slippery slope” for other defendants in similar highly publicized cases. They say the cop, who is free on $1.5 million bond, should either be protected from protestors when they are outside the courthouse or be allowed to arrive early. Herbert insists his client needs to be guarded if he is required to continue to go to court. However, at Van Dyke’s latest court showing in March, no protestors were present.

It’s possible for Judge Vincent Gaughan to make a decision on the filing by Thursday. It is the same day Van Dyke is set to go back to the courthouse.

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