Some observations about the trial of Jason Van Dyke who murdered Laquan McDonald—Day 2 of the trial

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From a reader

Today a key witness was Van Dyke’s partner, Walsh, who was not televised at his request, so the public could not listen to his testimony.  However in listening to the opening arguments, hearing several pigs-on-the-scene testify Day 1 and today, and reading about Walsh’s testimony (which is the prosecution presenting its case)—you would have thought you were hearing the defense’s side.

In the opening argument, the defense shifted its narrative from emphasizing that Van Dyke feared for his life to Van Dyke was concerned about Laquan going to either the Burger King or the Dunkin Donuts and endangering the people there.  As one attorney who has defended police said in his commentary on the trial – this is a good approach for the police to take because it is about protecting the public, not the individual cop.  This was combined with putting Laquan on trial: “he controlled the situation” (remember how Rodney King was controlling the situation?) by allegedly taking PCP, allegedly going on a sort of “wilding” around the city for the previous 24 hours taking public transit from the west side to the south side, by asking a woman to borrow her car—basically a thug who was a rabid menace to society who had to be put down. 

Then the cops who were given immunity, especially but not only Walsh, were put on the stand by the prosecution; Walsh was given partial immunity for his testimony (since he is up on charges for lying to cover up Laquan’s murder in the first place) and then he proceeded to run out the same story as the defense.   The prosecution did not draw out and hammer Walsh on the fact that he lied to protect Van Dyke right after the murder and made up what he said in his police report and how is it that he is not lying again to protect Van Dyke?  Oh, they couldn’t, Walsh was their witness!!!  Why wouldn’t the prosecution let Van Dyke’s defense team call Walsh to the stand and then shred his testimony as not to be believed.

The Chicago Tribune pointed out that the city inspector general found Walsh made numerous false statements and material omissions in his interview with police and the Independent Police Review Authority (the agency that investigated police-involved shootings) in the wake of the murder of Laquan.  “Walsh’s actions embody the ‘code of silence’ that has no legitimate place in CPD” the report said.   And now he is being allowed to tell another BIG LIE in order to back up Van Dyke’s legal defense.

The defense in its opening arguments showed the law that says something like police can use deadly force when someone is escaping arrest and a danger to the public.  The pigs are now taking the murder of Laquan and trying to figure out how to justify it since the video blew huge holes in their original cover up of this murder.

At the time Laquan was murdered, the ....

”cops and the police report said: That Van Dyke exited his vehicle, drew his handgun, then stood in the street as McDonald came toward him and that “McDonald was holding the knife in his right hand, in an underhand grip, with the blade pointed forward.... He was swinging the knife in an aggressive, exaggerated manner.” That Van Dyke repeatedly ordered McDonald to drop the knife. Then, “When McDonald got within 10 to 15 feet of Officer Van Dyke, McDonald looked toward Van Dyke, McDonald raised the knife across his chest and over shoulder, [sic] pointing the knife at Van Dyke.” Van Dyke said he continued to fire at McDonald while he was on the ground because McDonald “appeared to be attempt(ing) to get up, all the while continuing to point the knife” at him and still presented a threat.                       

One cop said he believed McDonald was “attempting to kill them” when Van Dyke opened fire. One report read, “In defense of his life, Van Dyke backpedaled and fired his handgun at McDonald, to stop the attack.... McDonald fell to the ground but continued to move and continued to grasp the knife, refusing to let go of it.”.  (See “The Murder of Laquan McDonald: Cops, Lies and Videotape, Part 2”).

The video shows Laquan making no aggressive moves toward the cops.  There is a high construction/mesh fence running down the block, Laquan is in the middle of the street.  His hand with a SMALL knife is at his side.  In fact, video on Monday showed a cop walking behind Laquan about 10 feet for several blocks.  This cop had his gun out but said Laquan wasn’t threatening him—he seemed “out of it” and the cops were waiting for a taser.  This scene went on for more than 10 minutes!  Given this, given that Van Dyke shot Laquan within 6 seconds—how are they going to say this is justifiable homicide?

Now the pigs’ testilying revolves around their feigned “concern” that Laquan was going to somehow get into the Burger King or Dunkin Donuts.  IF THAT WAS TRUE WHY DIDN’T THEY SAY IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?  WHY THE WHOLE OTHER STORY COMPLETELY CONTRADICTED BY A VIDEO THAT THE POLICE NEVER THOUGHT WOULD COME OUT? 

Walsh continued to claim that from his vantage point what Laquan was doing looked completely different than what is seen on the video—continuing to claim that Laquan raised up the knife with his arm when everyone can see he wasn’t threatening the police with the knife... this is setting the stage for the defense airing a video that they CREATED that purports to show what Van Dyke saw that night.  A fake video vs the real video.  And the prosecution greased the skids for it!!!

One other heart-breaking moment in the trial—a Cook County sheriff who was patrolling in the area followed the police cars streaming to the scene of the shooting and the video showed him among pigs who are standing in a row out in the street as Laquan’s crumpled body is in the street.  The sheriff’s deputy said he could hear Laquan gasping for air and gurgling.  He went over to the body to “render first aid”—he didn’t do anything.  He claims he told Laquan that an ambulance was coming... but he didn’t know if it even arrived.  The prosecution did not ask him if anyone else on the scene asked him if the teenager was alive or if anyone attempted to administer first aid... the prosecution did not drive home what is a sickening and revealing condemnation of all the pigs on the scene.  They were much more concerned about saving their asses while they treated Laquan like so much road kill.

Dashcam Video of Officer Jason Van Dyke Shooting Laquan McDonald

Police murder Laquan McDonald at 5 minute mark


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