Race central to Chicago case, even if jury doesn’t hear it
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.
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.
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.