A not guilty plea by a white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of a black teenager illustrates the “arrogance” and “combative” nature of US police, an African-American journalist in Detroit says.
“These deaths by the hands of police are gaining a horrendous reputation for the United States both domestically as well as internationally,” said Abayomi Azikiwe, editor at the Pan-African News Wire.
“The United States can in no way claim to be a leader in the movement of human rights on the international level when just this year alone; approximately 1,000 people have killed by the police,” Azikiwe said in a phone interview with Press TV on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke pleaded not guilty at the Cook County Criminal Court to murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was fatally shot on October 20, 2014.
Van Dyke, 37, faces six counts of first-degree murder and faces up to 30 years in prison. He has been free on bail and his next court hearing is set for January 29.
Public outcry has been furious since a dashcam video of the incident released last month showed Van Dyke shooting Laquan 16 times in a span of 15 seconds.
The teenager, armed with a knife, was veering away from officers when Van Dyke opened fire.
The footage sparked days of street demonstrations, the forced resignation of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy and a broad federal civil rights investigation of the Police Department’s practices and how allegations of officer misconduct are handled.
According to data compiled by an activist group, US police have killed 1,152 people as of December 15 of this year, with the largest police departments disproportionately killing at least 321 African Americans.