The jury in the trial of a white Chicago police officer charged with first-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald has heard very little about race.

Tina Hunter, left, wipes her eyes as she watches from the gallery during Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s first degree trial for the shooting death of her son Laquan McDonald, at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018.(Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)
Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens during the fourth day of his first degree murder trial for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

But to spectators in the courtroom, the issue of race permeates every aspect of the case — from concerns that releasing the now famous video would ignite racial tensions to worries that possible unrest if the jury acquits Jason Van Dyke.

Prosecuting attorneys gather together during the fourth day of the first degree murder trial for Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s lead defense attorney Daniel Herbert gestures with Laquan McDonald’s knife during the fourth day of Van Dyke’s first degree murder trial for the shooting death of McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Thursday, Sept. 20, 2018 in Chicago. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

The trial is being watched closely in Chicago and around the country as another chapter in a long national story about race and law enforcement. Recent history has seen sometimes violent protests after Freddie Gray died in police custody in Baltimore and after a white officer shot black 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Source: The Associated Press