A complete guide to the Laquan McDonald shooting and the Jason Van Dyke trial

Jason Van Dyke, the on-duty Chicago Police officer who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, is going on trial for the teenager's murder. The highly anticipated trial has political, social and cultural implications. The Sun-Times staff will update this page every day throughout the trial and will offer a number of resources related to case.

Sept. 7 (End of week 1)

What happened?

The first week of the Van Dyke trial was largely uneventful:

There were 190 potential jurors who filled out questionnaires this week.

Jason Van Dyke saw his bail increase by $2,000 because he gave press interviews.

Van Dyke had to be reprocessed through the jail because of the bail increase.

Jason Van Dyke booking photo on Sept. 6, 2018

What happens next week?

The trial is expected to fully go into gear. Potential jurors will come back early next week. Opening arguments are expected to start shortly after.

Sept. 6

What happened today?

Van Dyke faced going back to jail after a possible bond violation for giving interviews to the Chicago Tribune and WFLD, despite a judge's order banning key figures in the case from making public statements. Gaughan ordered that Van Dyke's bail be increased by $2,000.

Also of note

Chicago police officers will be required to file a report every time they point a gun at someone, according to an agreement reached between the city and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and made public Thursday.

Here's an explainer on what consent decrees are.

Sept. 5 (The first day)

What happened today?

The trial officially began today with more drama outside the courthouse than inside the courtroom.

With jury selection drawing from a pool of about 190 people, protesters converged on the Leighton Criminal Court Building Wednesday morning. Jason Van Dyke entered the courthouse about 7:30 a.m.

Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, in the tan suit coat, is escorted into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse by a contingency, including FOP President Kevin Graham to his left. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Inside the courtroom, potential jurors will likely spend part of the day filling out questionnaires. Lawyers will review their answers, and the judge won’t begin to question members of the jury pool until Monday.

Demonstrators have a permit to protest on the median walkway outside the courthouse from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the trial, though they will have to do so contending with barricades that were set up Tuesday.

Sept. 4 (Day before the trial)

What happened today?

Jury selection begins Wednesday with today being reserved for the last pre-trial hearings.

Over the weekend, Judge Vincent Gaughan said he would hold off on ruling on whether to revoke or raise Van Dyke's bail for allegedly violating the judge’s order barring Van Dyke and others from making public statements.

The week before the trial was set to begin, Van Dyke gave interviews with the Chicago Tribune and WFLD.

Also Monday, the family of Laquan McDonald gathered calling for "complete peace" in connection with the trial.

Before the trial

What to expect during the trial

The trial is set to take place nearly three years after Jason Van Dyke was charged in the murder of Laquan McDonald.

Since the arrest, there have been a number of legal factors that will play a role in how lawyers, the media, witness and others are expected to conduct themselves during the proceedings.

Some factors of note:

Jury selection is set to begin Sept. 5, with a final pre-trial hearing scheduled for Sept. 4

• Judge Vincent Gaughan has not ruled on the defense's request to move the trial outside of Cook County, and won’t make a ruling until after jury selection has started.


Reporters: Andy Grimm, Jon Seidel, Rachel Hinton, Stefano Esposito

Social Media: Nader Issa

Editor: Steve Warmbir

Development and Graphics: Tanveer Ali

Illustrations: Julia Dourgarian