Trial underway in Chicago police murder of Laquan McDonald


Trial underway in Chicago police murder of Laquan McDonald

Kristina Betinis and George Gallanis

27 September 2018

The defense team for Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke completed its third day of testimony yesterday and will continue today. Van Dyke is being tried for the murder of Laquan McDonald after shooting him 16 times—emptying his entire magazine—and killing him in 2014.

Last December, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Chicago Police Department (CPD) Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who—along with the mayor’s office and the entire Chicago city council—suppressed the video of McDonald’s murder, allowed Van Dyke to walk free, and paid the teen’s family an unprecedented $5 million.

Jury selection for the trial has sparked controversy. An aspiring police officer made the cut, and only one member of the jury is African-American.

Van Dyke’s legal team attempted to have the trial moved out of the city of Chicago, on the grounds that if Van Dyke is acquitted of the charges, there could be mass unrest in the city. Based on this supposition, they argue Van Dyke could not get a fair trial.

The Illinois state prosecutors rested after four days of testimony last Thursday. Former FBI agent Urey Patrick testified that Van Dyke, who shot the teenager 16 times, could have apprehended him by other means. McDonald’s three-inch knife, which he had on him before being shot, “did not rise to the necessity of using deadly force to stop it.”

Patrick continued, referring to the dashcam video of the killing, “He never said anything to anybody, never made any threats, never made any move towards the police officers confronting him. Here in this video he’s walking away from them.”

Chicago police officer Joseph McElligott also testified. Before McDonald was killed,…

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