Illinois State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has withdrawn from the LaQuan McDonald case. She said she would ask the court to assign a special prosecutor to case that left 17-year-old McDonald fatally wounded.
McDonald was shot 16 times by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. Alvarez announced the state would pursue murder charges against Van Dyke ho16urs after dash cam video of the shooting surfaced to the public 13 months later. Amid allegations of a cover up, Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy resigned and a Justice Department investigation soon followed.
Civil rights activists called for Alvarez to resign earlier this year because of her close ties to local police.
“While it is has not been an easy decision, I believe that it is the right one because it will help to avoid unnecessary legal delays and provide continuity in the handling of this very important and complicated case,” Alvarez said in a statement. “It would also ensure that one designated prosecutor will handle this case as it proceeds to trial.”
The Cook County prosecutor denied that a “legal conflict of interest” factored in her decision to step down, instead referring to her recent loss in the Democratic primary.