Your NPR news source
16 Shots

16 Shots

A podcast about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, the trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke, and the troubled relationship between African-Americans and the Chicago Police Department. Brought to you by WBEZ Chicago and The Chicago Tribune.

In October 2014, a white police officer fatally shot a Black teenager on the streets of Chicago. The shooting of Laquan McDonald was captured on video and sparked outrage across the city. Chicago’s top cop was fired, the local state’s attorney was voted out and the police officer at the center of the shooting, Jason Van Dyke, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 81 months in prison. Now, Van Dyke is being released — just three years after being sentenced. In this podcast, first aired in 2018, WBEZ and the Chicago Tribune look at how Van Dyke and McDonald intersected that night in 2014, the alleged cover-up, and the long history of friction between African-Americans and the Chicago Police Department.

Recent
Almost four years ago, Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, was fatally shot by Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago Police officer. Police reported McDonald was attacking officers. A video from the scene told a different story. Trust in Chicago police and officials crumbled. Now, Officer Van Dyke is awaiting trial for murder charges. WBEZ and the Chicago Tribune bring you the story of the shooting and the fallout. Then, stay tuned for ongoing coverage of the trial. Subscribe now so you don’t miss a single episode.
The police shooting of Laquan McDonald forces Chicago to prepare for potential riots. We piece together details from McDonald’s too-short life and hear from Officer Jason Van Dyke in his first interview since the shooting.
The fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald aggravated longstanding tensions between Chicago police and the city’s black residents. We look at how a troubled police department spun a narrative of the shooting, how that narrative fell apart, and how the city reacted when it did.
Protesters take to the streets of Chicago after officials release the a video of Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. Critics attack the mayor and police department. A federal investigation finds a pattern of abuse by Chicago officers.
A day before the trial of Jason Van Dyke, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a surprise announcement - he won’t seek a third term in office. The mayor has faced intense scrutiny for how he handled the shooting of Laquan McDonald. We discuss the announcement and hear reaction.
The trial of Jason Van Dyke begins today. We profile the lawyers and the judge. Two Chicago legal veterans tell us the moves they expect each side to make. And we ask what this trial means for Chicago.
Jason Van Dyke’s trial started Wednesday. We take you inside the courtroom for the start of jury selection and outside where protesters gathered in force.
CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke was briefly taken into custody Thursday because of what he said to the media. Meanwhile, the city of Chicago reached an agreement on sweeping reforms in the police department that will be enforced by a federal court judge.
Judge Vincent Gaughan began to interview potential jurors on Monday. The first five were selected. We discuss what the prosecution and defense are looking for. NOTE: A previous version of this episode contained an error. It was about the defense argument for excluding an African American woman from the jury. What the defense attorney actually stated as the reasons for excluding her were that she lives in the same part of the city that Laquan McDonald did, has children roughly the same age as he was, and she allegedly would shift the burden of proof from the prosecutors to the defendant. We regret the error.
The 12 jurors and 5 alternates have been picked to decide Jason Van Dyke’s fate. With only one black juror, the racial makeup is controversial. We explore how the jurors were picked -- and what we know about them.
In opening statements, prosecutors said Officer Jason Van Dyke didn’t need to shoot and the defense said Laquan McDonald was out of control. We bring you more from the first day of testimony.
The prosecution continued to call witnesses Tuesday, including Jason Van Dyke’s partner the night of the shooting. We bring you more details from the second day of testimony.
The third day of testimony in the murder trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke focused on Laquan McDonald’s autopsy. We also explore the demeanor of Judge Vincent Gaughan.
An expert on police use of deadly force testified that Jason Van Dyke didn’t need to shoot Laquan McDonald.
Our panel of experts reviews the prosecution’s case and answers questions about the trial.
Lawyers for Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke called their first witnesses on Monday. One big question remains: Will Van Dyke take the stand?
The defense presented a computer-generated video that showed the shooting of Laquan McDonald from the perspective of Officer Jason Van Dyke.
A truck driver who called 911 took the witness stand and described fighting off a knife-wielding man moments before Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shot Laquan McDonald.
Lawyers for Officer Jason Van Dyke called witnesses Thursday to testify about PCP, police training, and McDonald’s behavior hours before the shooting.
After four days of defense witnesses, one key person has not testified: Officer Jason Van Dyke. We explore the potential costs and benefits of Van Dyke testifying and we look at a previous police shooting in which he gave testimony under oath.
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke took the stand in his own defense in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
We examine the defense’s case and hear about what Chicago police officers are saying about the trial.
Lawyers gave their closing arguments Thursday in the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke has been found guilty of second-degree murder and on all 16 counts of aggravated battery.
The jurors talk to reporters about why they convicted Van Dyke. Activists express thanks for the guilty verdict and Van Dyke’s attorney Dan Herbert says cops are now going to stay in their cars.
On the Sunday after the verdict, we go to two Chicago churches in very different neighborhoods and hear their very different takes on Van Dyke, the shooting and the trial. We hear from Laquan’s friends and are surprised at what we find when we go back to the scene of the shooting at 41st and Pulaski.
A month and a half after Jason Van Dyke was convicted of murder, three other Chicago police officers face charges of conspiring to cover-up for him. Prosecutors say the officers’ reports exaggerated the threat Laquan McDonald posed. Defense attorneys say this was a “good case with a little bit of bad paper. Update: The trial has been moved back one day to Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.
Attorneys give their opening statements in the conspiracy trial of officers who were on the scene when Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan McDonald and a detective who led the investigation of the shooting. We take a closer look at the judge who will be deciding guilt in the case, Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson, and her relationship with one of the defense attorneys.
Defense attorneys present just one witness and some documents. That comes after 7 prosecution witnesses over 4 days. The sides make their closing arguments and Judge Domenica Stephenson says she’ll announce a verdict December 19.
Judge Domenica Stephenson finds 3 Chicago police officers did not lie in their reports to cover-up for Jason Van Dyke the night he killed Laquan McDonald. Defense attorneys call her courageous. Activist Will Calloway says the code of silence extends to judges. And we hear from Van Dyke jurors as his sentencing approaches.
Judge Vincent Gaughan sentences Jason Van Dyke to 81 months in prison. It means he’ll likely serve about 3 years. The officer celebrates with his attorneys. Young activists are angry and struggle to make sense of it.

In October 2014, a white police officer fatally shot a Black teenager on the streets of Chicago. The shooting of Laquan McDonald was captured on video and sparked outrage across the city. Chicago’s top cop was fired, the local state’s attorney was voted out and the police officer at the center of the shooting, Jason Van Dyke, was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced to 81 months in prison. Now, Van Dyke is being released — just three years after being sentenced. In this podcast, first aired in 2018, WBEZ and the Chicago Tribune look at how Van Dyke and McDonald intersected that night in 2014, the alleged cover-up, and the long history of friction between African-Americans and the Chicago Police Department.

Recent
Almost four years ago, Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, was fatally shot by Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago Police officer. Police reported McDonald was attacking officers. A video from the scene told a different story. Trust in Chicago police and officials crumbled. Now, Officer Van Dyke is awaiting trial for murder charges. WBEZ and the Chicago Tribune bring you the story of the shooting and the fallout. Then, stay tuned for ongoing coverage of the trial. Subscribe now so you don’t miss a single episode.
The police shooting of Laquan McDonald forces Chicago to prepare for potential riots. We piece together details from McDonald’s too-short life and hear from Officer Jason Van Dyke in his first interview since the shooting.
The fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald aggravated longstanding tensions between Chicago police and the city’s black residents. We look at how a troubled police department spun a narrative of the shooting, how that narrative fell apart, and how the city reacted when it did.
Protesters take to the streets of Chicago after officials release the a video of Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shooting Laquan McDonald. Critics attack the mayor and police department. A federal investigation finds a pattern of abuse by Chicago officers.
A day before the trial of Jason Van Dyke, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel made a surprise announcement - he won’t seek a third term in office. The mayor has faced intense scrutiny for how he handled the shooting of Laquan McDonald. We discuss the announcement and hear reaction.
The trial of Jason Van Dyke begins today. We profile the lawyers and the judge. Two Chicago legal veterans tell us the moves they expect each side to make. And we ask what this trial means for Chicago.
Jason Van Dyke’s trial started Wednesday. We take you inside the courtroom for the start of jury selection and outside where protesters gathered in force.
CPD Officer Jason Van Dyke was briefly taken into custody Thursday because of what he said to the media. Meanwhile, the city of Chicago reached an agreement on sweeping reforms in the police department that will be enforced by a federal court judge.
Judge Vincent Gaughan began to interview potential jurors on Monday. The first five were selected. We discuss what the prosecution and defense are looking for. NOTE: A previous version of this episode contained an error. It was about the defense argument for excluding an African American woman from the jury. What the defense attorney actually stated as the reasons for excluding her were that she lives in the same part of the city that Laquan McDonald did, has children roughly the same age as he was, and she allegedly would shift the burden of proof from the prosecutors to the defendant. We regret the error.
The 12 jurors and 5 alternates have been picked to decide Jason Van Dyke’s fate. With only one black juror, the racial makeup is controversial. We explore how the jurors were picked -- and what we know about them.
In opening statements, prosecutors said Officer Jason Van Dyke didn’t need to shoot and the defense said Laquan McDonald was out of control. We bring you more from the first day of testimony.
The prosecution continued to call witnesses Tuesday, including Jason Van Dyke’s partner the night of the shooting. We bring you more details from the second day of testimony.
The third day of testimony in the murder trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke focused on Laquan McDonald’s autopsy. We also explore the demeanor of Judge Vincent Gaughan.
An expert on police use of deadly force testified that Jason Van Dyke didn’t need to shoot Laquan McDonald.
Our panel of experts reviews the prosecution’s case and answers questions about the trial.
Lawyers for Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke called their first witnesses on Monday. One big question remains: Will Van Dyke take the stand?
The defense presented a computer-generated video that showed the shooting of Laquan McDonald from the perspective of Officer Jason Van Dyke.
A truck driver who called 911 took the witness stand and described fighting off a knife-wielding man moments before Officer Jason Van Dyke fatally shot Laquan McDonald.
Lawyers for Officer Jason Van Dyke called witnesses Thursday to testify about PCP, police training, and McDonald’s behavior hours before the shooting.
After four days of defense witnesses, one key person has not testified: Officer Jason Van Dyke. We explore the potential costs and benefits of Van Dyke testifying and we look at a previous police shooting in which he gave testimony under oath.
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke took the stand in his own defense in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
We examine the defense’s case and hear about what Chicago police officers are saying about the trial.
Lawyers gave their closing arguments Thursday in the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke has been found guilty of second-degree murder and on all 16 counts of aggravated battery.
The jurors talk to reporters about why they convicted Van Dyke. Activists express thanks for the guilty verdict and Van Dyke’s attorney Dan Herbert says cops are now going to stay in their cars.
On the Sunday after the verdict, we go to two Chicago churches in very different neighborhoods and hear their very different takes on Van Dyke, the shooting and the trial. We hear from Laquan’s friends and are surprised at what we find when we go back to the scene of the shooting at 41st and Pulaski.
A month and a half after Jason Van Dyke was convicted of murder, three other Chicago police officers face charges of conspiring to cover-up for him. Prosecutors say the officers’ reports exaggerated the threat Laquan McDonald posed. Defense attorneys say this was a “good case with a little bit of bad paper. Update: The trial has been moved back one day to Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018.
Attorneys give their opening statements in the conspiracy trial of officers who were on the scene when Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan McDonald and a detective who led the investigation of the shooting. We take a closer look at the judge who will be deciding guilt in the case, Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson, and her relationship with one of the defense attorneys.
Defense attorneys present just one witness and some documents. That comes after 7 prosecution witnesses over 4 days. The sides make their closing arguments and Judge Domenica Stephenson says she’ll announce a verdict December 19.
Judge Domenica Stephenson finds 3 Chicago police officers did not lie in their reports to cover-up for Jason Van Dyke the night he killed Laquan McDonald. Defense attorneys call her courageous. Activist Will Calloway says the code of silence extends to judges. And we hear from Van Dyke jurors as his sentencing approaches.
Judge Vincent Gaughan sentences Jason Van Dyke to 81 months in prison. It means he’ll likely serve about 3 years. The officer celebrates with his attorneys. Young activists are angry and struggle to make sense of it.