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Jon Burge

Murder trial of Chicago cop puts troubled force in spotlight

In a Chicago courtroom over the coming weeks, the spotlight will focus on one night in 2014, 16 gunshots, a white police officer, the death of a black teenager and an essential question: Murder or self-defense?

Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke faces murder charges in the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, a shooting captured in a silent dashcam video that stirred outrage, upended politics and fueled the city's racial tensions. While the jury trial that begins Monday revolves around the events of Oct. 20, 2014, it also draws fresh attention to the problems a troubled department has wrestled with for decades.

"It's a new chapter but the same theme — police...