Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

Police officer's trial in 2014 shooting stays in Chicago

Police officer's trial in 2014 shooting stays in Chicago

Van Dyke shot LaQuan 16 times, even after the victim had fallen to the ground back during the incident in 2014.

"McDonald was an out-of-control criminal running with a knife", Herbert told jurors. An officer pulls up, gets out of a squad auto and opens fire as the black teenager walks away from police, a small knife in one hand. He fired 16 shots.

But Fontaine, who has been been given immunity by prosecutors, testified that she had only witnessed McDonald making "swaying" movements with the knife prior to the shooting.

Three Chicago Police Department officers were indicted in June 2017 for conspiring to cover up McDonald's shooting.

The graphic video - released the same day that Van Dyke was charged and suspended without pay - led to months of protests and political upheaval.

During the questioning of an Federal Bureau of Investigation expert later Monday, prosecutors showed side-by-side videos of the shooting from different squad cars and from surveillance cameras at a nearby Dunkin Donuts.

According to prosecutors, McDonald was stealing auto radios and was armed with a 3-inch blade when Chicago police officers in Archer Heights called in a radio request for a Taser on October 20, 2014. Prosecutors say the shooting was "completely unnecessary".

He has opted for a jury trial, putting his fate in the hands of a dozen Cook County residents, including a financial analyst, an aspiring Chicago police officer, a stay-at-home mother and a man whose church encouraged its members to speak with black people about their experiences with racial injustice.

McElligott was down the street blocking traffic when Van Dyke arrived, and under cross-examination, McElligott said McDonald's later actions had increased the threat level.

Officer Joseph McElligott said he got within 15 feet (4.5 meters) of McDonald, the same distance Van Dyke was when he shot the teen. Jurors were shown photos of a tire he allegedly slashed on a squad vehicle and the windshield attacked with a knife.

But McElligott never fired his gun. He testified that he thought his partner was protected and that someone was coming with a Taser that could be used to subdue McDonald.

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.

While prosecutors stressed that no other officers who encountered McDonald opened fire, defense attorney Daniel Herbert argued that Van Dyke "is not a murderer". Its release more than a year after the shooting sparked large protests, the ouster of the city's police superintendent and demands for police reform. He was carrying a small knife.

Officer Joseph McElligott, who responded to the incident before the shooting, said McDonald swiped a knife at his squad vehicle and kept walking, ignoring at least 30 orders to drop his weapon.

Jurors watched a new video depicting a slow-paced pursuit of Laquan McDonald.

Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon told jurors that "not a single shot was necessary or justified" before showing them the video 15 minutes into his opening statement.

McDonald was armed with a knife when he was shot.

Still, he said, Van Dyke continued to fire at McDonald for another 12.5 seconds.

The defense is set to make its opening statement after prosecutors finish theirs.

A judge is expected to decide if the murder trial of a white Chicago police officer charged in the shooting death of a black teenager should be moved out of the city.

Earlier Monday, Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan decided against moving the trial from Chicago.

But attorneys were able to select a jury in less than a week.

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