That playbook was put into action on Monday, the opening day of the Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dykes trial. Van Dyke, who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times as the teen was walking away from police officers, says his use of force was justified because he feared for his life and the lives of the other officers on the scene.
Trial Begins Today for Chicago Officer Who Shot and Killed Laquan McDonaldNearly four years after Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke unloaded 16 bullets into Laquan…
Van Dykes defense hinges on making a Cook County jury—comprising only one black person—share that fear, despite the fact that other officers on the scene didnt share it. All to place the blame for Laquans death squarely on the Chicago teens own shoulders. As the Chicago Tribune reports, Van Dykes attorney, Daniel Herbert, told the court during his opening statement, the story in this case is a story written, directed and orchestrated by one person: Laquan McDonald.
Video: Van Dyke Murder Trial: New Video Shown To Jury
He went on to say that Laquan was on a wild rampage through the city, telling jurors that the prosecution wanted them to look at the final chapter without reading the rest of the book.
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A woman who called 911 to report McDonald–who was later determined to be on PCP–had asked to borrow her car in the middle of the previous night. Herbert also told the jury that McDonald had been using a disabled retired veterans public transit card throughout the city.
Laquan asked to borrow a car in the middle of the night. Laquan used a metro card that wasnt his. Laquan McDonald held a small folding knife. This is all it takes to classify a black teen as wild, and to paint him as the architect of his own murder.
Walsh previously said in police reports that he told McDonald to Drop the knife! multiple times. He alleged that McDonald swung his knife in an aggressive manner. And he said that after McDonald fell to the ground and Van Dyke continued firing, McDonald kept moving, attempting to get up and still armed with the knife.
The one thing Laquan cant be called, by the judges own ruling, is a victim (though Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan decided that it could be permissible in closing arguments).
Certainly, there is a person thats dead as a result of this tragic situation but that doesnt mean that the person is a victim legally, Judge Gaughan said in August.
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke listens during his trial for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018 in Chicago. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)
CHICAGO – The second day of the trial of a white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald began the way the first day ended: with a police officer who was at the scene the night of the killing.
Most jurors had said during jury selection that they had already seen the footage, which appears to contradict the initial claims of Van Dyke and other officers that McDonald had lunged at them with a knife. Now the jury watched it repeatedly, with prosecutors at one point stopping it to highlight certain points: the moment before Van Dyke opens fire; the first bullet striking McDonald; the 17-year-old lying on the ground.
Former officer Joseph Walsh was Jason Van Dykes police partner that night. Walsh testified Tuesday under a grant of immunity. Walsh is among three officers indicted on charges they conspired to cover up how the 2014 killing of McDonald happened.
Chicago cops murder trial hears opening arguments
McDonald was carrying a small knife in his right hand and was running down the middle of a street as officers pursued him after reports that someone was breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard.
Walsh said that after he and Van Dyke got out of their squad car to confront McDonald, he saw the 17-year-old raise his right arm and "swing that up to shoulder level … in our direction." Video of the shooting does not confirm Walshs account, but Walsh testified that it was taken from a different angle than his vantage point.
Van Dyke continued shooting McDonald after the teenager fell to the ground, firing a total of 16 shots. Walsh was next to Van Dyke with his own gun drawn, but testified that he chose not to shoot.
While prosecutors stressed that no other officers who encountered McDonald opened fire, defense attorney Daniel Herbert argued that Van Dyke is not a murderer. … He is a scared police officer who was fearful for his life and the life of others and acted as he was trained to do.
Prosecutors have stressed that no other officers who encountered McDonald opened fire. Van Dykes attorneys have said he was scared for his life and the life of others and acted as he was trained to do.