UPDATED 12:55 p.m. EDT — The jury was shown the video of the shooting, after which special prosecutor Joseph McMahon told jurors that “not a single shot was necessary or justified,” the Associated Press reported.
UPDATED 12:07 p.m. EDT — Jason Van Dyke‘s defense attorney was trying to paint a picture of Laquan McDonald as an aggressor who wanted a confrontation with police, according to reporters in the court room.
UPDATED: 11:25 a.m. EDT — After getting an earlier victory to not move the trial venue, defense lawyers secured a second win of the day by saying that Jason Van Dyke reloaded his weapon after killing LaQuan McDonald because he was trained to do so, according to a report on social media.
Van Dyke shot LaQuan 16 times, even after the victim had fallen to the ground back during the incident in 2014.
The trial over a white police officer killing a Black teenager in Chicago in was scheduled to begin on Monday, nearly four years after Jason Van Dyke gunned down LaQuan McDonald in an apparent case of murder by way of brutality and corruption.
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The former Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer fatally shot LaQuan 16 times in 2014, and cops released the shooting video in 2015 after a court order. CPD faced allegations of covering up the shooting, with its account contradicting what dashboard camera video showed was LaQuan trying to walk away from Van Dyke at the time of the killing.
Police officers encountered the 17-year-old on the evening of Oct. 20, 2014, after receiving a complaint about a suspect trying to break into vehicles, according to police officials. Two officers followed the Black teen in their patrol vehicle from a distance before calling for a backup officer with a Taser. Van Dyke, one of the backup officers who arrived, allegedly got out of his vehicle with his gun drawn and started shooting as LaQuan moved slightly away from him. He continued firing, for a total of 16 times, even after the teenager fell to the ground.
The former officer was facing six counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct in LaQuan’s death.
The warning signs for a potential Van Dyke acquittal were already being written on the proverbial wall, as just one Black person was selected to serve on the jury while half of the jury was white.
In July, Judge Diane Gordon Cannon was removed for having a history of siding with police in cases of excessive force. Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan, who refused to change the trial venue, was ultimately assigned the case.
Four other Chicago officers, who were suspended without pay for their roles in the investigation into LaQuan‘s shooting, were permitted to return to work in a controversial ruling in June.
About a week prior to jury selection, an emotional Van Dyke said he’s not a racist and “prays” daily for LaQuan‘s family.
This article was originally published in The Chicago Defender.