Prosecutors have tacked on 16 new counts to the first-degree murder charges against Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke in the shooting of Laquan McDonald, reports the Sun-Times. A new grand jury indictment adds 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, apparently one for each shot Van Dyke fired at McDonald, special prosecutor Joseph McMahon said during a hearing Thursday. The new indictment still includes the six counts of first-degree murder and one count of official misconduct that were charged in November 2015, when the case was being handled by former State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez.
Northwestern University Law School professor Jeffrey Urdangen said the additional charges suggest prosecutors wanted to “hedge their bets” on a case that may be difficult to prove. “These are charges that are going to be easier to prove,” he said. Van Dyke, 38, is accused of shooting the 17-year-old McDonald 16 times in October 2014. But he wasn’t charged until a year later, after a shocking video of the incident, filmed by a dashboard-mounted camera, was released, prompting protests across the country.