CHICAGO – prosecutors on Monday showed jurors video of a white Chicago police officer to open fire on the black teen Laquan McDonald, says the 2014 fatal shooting was “not necessary.”
The video shows Officer Jason Van Dijk shoot McDonald 16 times as the 17-year-old, with a small knife in one hand, running away from officers.
Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon told jurors that “not a single shot was necessary or justified” you before you make the video of 15 minutes in his opening remarks as the trial progressed.
But lawyer Daniel Herbert argued that Van Dijk “is not a murderer. … He is afraid of the police-officer, who was fearful for his life and the lives of others and acted as he was trained to do.”
Herbert painted a picture of McDonald as a crazed young man, who had attacked a truck driver and a squad car and had tried to get into two restaurants. He said McDonald had flicked his folding knife open again when Van Dyke pulled up.
McDonald was “planning to attack” once again, Herbert said. “He is not trying to escape.”
He and McMahon both noted McDonald had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system.
But McMahon said Van Dijk did not know that — or anything else about McDonald’s background. But Van Dijk opened fire in a mere six seconds after getting his patrol car, McMahon said.
“What he saw was a black boy walks in a street with a chain link fence with the audacity to ignore the police,” McMahon said.
Van Dijk has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, aggravated battery and official msiconduct. Prosecutors on Monday dropped four counts of first-degree murder, but Van Dijk is still two of the first degree murder counts. Other officers at the scene are charged with lying on their reports in what prosecutors say was an effort to cover up what happened on the protecting Dike.
Earlier Monday, Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan decided against moving the trial of Chicago. The question that the trial be moved, defense attorneys had argued that extensive publicity because the 2015 version of the video of the recording, makes it impossible to find impartial jurors is required for a fair trial. But lawyers were able to select a jury in less than a week.
For the latest information on the trial: https://bit.ly/2NhbikW