News Wrap: Chicago cop pleads not guilty in Laquan McDonald shooting case

In our news wrap Tuesday, Chicago policeman Jason Van Dyke pleaded not guilty of first-degree murder for killing of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Also, protesters gathered in Cleveland a day after a grand jury refused to indict two police officers for killing 12-year-old Tamir Rice.

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  • GWEN IFILL:

    A white Chicago policeman pleaded not guilty today in the killing of black teenager Laquan McDonald. That case sparked local protests and gained national attention.

    Jason Van Dyke was arraigned on charges of first-degree murder and official misconduct. Police video released last month showed him shooting McDonald 16 times.

    Meanwhile, in Cleveland, protesters gathered a day after a grand jury refused to indict two police officers for killing Tamir Rice. The 12-year-old was shot dead in November of last year.

    This morning, Mayor Frank Jackson said the city wants to address public anger, in part with a special committee to examine the case.

  • MAYOR FRANK JACKSON, Cleveland:

    The grand jury has said that there's been nothing done wrong criminally. We are reviewing , based on what we have seen, whether or not something has been done administratively. A 12-year-old lost his life. Something happened.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Attorneys for the accused officers reiterated today that their clients didn't know Rice was only 12 or that he had a toy gun, not a real one.

    In Pakistan today, a suicide bomber blew himself up outside a government office, killing at least 26 people and wounding scores more. It happened in the northwestern city of Mardan, near Peshawar, in a province bordering Afghanistan. The bomber opened fire, then detonated his suicide jacket at a national registration office. Many of the victims were there to receive identification cards.

  • MAN (through interpreter):

    I was praying in my house when the blast occurred. It was a huge blast. When I came running here, there were dead bodies lying all around. It was like doomsday. Body parts were scattered on the ground. Rescue workers were picking up dead bodies and putting them into vehicles.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    An offshoot of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Police in Belgium have arrested two people in a possible plot to stage attacks around New Year's. Brussels' main square is popular with tourists this time of year and was allegedly one of the targets. Authorities say the plotters had military-type uniforms and Islamic State propaganda.

    Back in this country, days of heavy rain triggered flooding along the Mississippi River today, inundating small towns in Missouri and Illinois. The rising tide also shut down parts of two interstate highways and forced residents of West Alton, Missouri, to evacuate their homes.

    Governor Jay Nixon warned the worst is yet to come.

  • GOV. JAY NIXON, Missouri:

    We have got a lot more water coming. We try to stay in front of it as best we can. Today is Tuesday. And, as I said before, we're looking at Thursday night or Friday morning for that — that crest, so we have 36, 48 hours to get ready for the top.

  • GWEN IFILL:

    Later, the governor activated the National Guard.

    Elsewhere, heavy rain continues in Georgia and Alabama, and New England is finally getting snow, after one of the warmest Decembers on record.

    Michigan's governor apologized today for lead contamination in the city of Flint's drinking water. And his environmental chief resigned. The city started drawing water from the Flint River last year to save money. State officials insisted it was safe, but the water corroded aging pipes and released lead. Residents have now been warned against drinking unfiltered tap water.

    And Wall Street rallied on higher oil prices, plus upbeat economic reports. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 192 points to close at 17720. The Nasdaq rose 67 points, and the S&P 500 added nearly 22.

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