Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is charged with several crimes, including first-degree murder and aggravated battery, for killing a black teenager named Laquan McDonald in 2014.
Van Dyke, a white officer, finally goes on trial this week, with jury selection scheduled to begin September 5. The trial will likely unfold over several weeks.
Shadowproof is sending journalist Brandon Smith to court to cover the trial. We would like to raise $1400 to fund his upcoming reporting.
Smith filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in 2015 over the video of Van Dyke firing 16 shots, which killed McDonald. He won and subsequently the city was forced to release the video. Only then did prosecutors charge Van Dyke with murder.
Can you please donate $10 or more to send reporter Brandon Smith to cover Officer Jason Van Dyke’s trial for murder?
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced on September 4 that he will not seek re-election. Among many issues plaguing his administration, his decision was a direct result of the coverup the city of Chicago and its police department engaged in after Van Dyke killed McDonald.
Prosecutors did not charge Van Dyke until more than 400 days after he was killed, when the judge ordered the city to release video of the shooting.
Any media institution in Chicago could have forced the release of the video like Smith did, but they did not pursue disclosure with his level of tenacity.
Smith’s work on police accountability has been published by The Guardian, Al Jazeera, The Daily Beast, and In These Times. He has been interviewed by local ABC and CBS news affiliates in the run-up to the trial, and Shadowproof views him as a valuable reporter to have at the courthouse covering the trial.
Please donate $10 or more to fund Brandon Smith’s on-the-ground coverage of the murder trial against Officer Jason Van Dyke.
Thank you for your support,
Managing Editor, Shadowproof.com