Chicago officer pleads not guilty to murder charges

FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2015 file photo, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke leaves the Cook County Jail after posting bond in Chicago. Van Dyke, who is charged with murder in the shooting death of a black teenager is expected to enter a plea at an arraignment Tuesday, Dec. 29, 2015 in Chicago. The veteran officer faces six counts of first-degree murder and one of official misconduct in the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.(AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast, File)

CHICAGO (AP) — A white Chicago police officer who shot a black teenager 16 times has pleaded not guilty to murder charges.

Jason Van Dyke appeared in Cook County Criminal court Tuesday in Chicago.

Prosecutors announced last month they were charging Van Dyke with six counts of murder for the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Hours later, the city released squad car video of the shooting in which McDonald is seen veering away from Van Dyke before the veteran officer opens fire. Police have said McDonald had a knife.

The footage set off weeks of protests and led to the forced resignation of Chicago’s police superintendent and a federal investigation of department practices.

Van Dyke, who is no longer being paid, has been free since posting bond.

Van Dyke’s lawyer has said the officer “absolutely” can defend himself in court.

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