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Defense rests in Chicago officer's trial in Laquan McDonald killing

The defense rested Wednesday in the murder trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged wi...

Posted: Oct 3, 2018 3:07 PM
Updated: Oct 3, 2018 3:07 PM

The defense rested Wednesday in the murder trial of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Van Dyke faces two counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct for the shooting and killing of the black teenager. The white officer faces up to life in prison if convicted.

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The defense called 20 witnesses.

Closing arguments are scheduled to begin Thursday.

Video of the shooting sparked protests, a Justice Department civil rights investigation, criticism of the city's mayor and eventually the ouster of the police superintendent.

Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer to be charged with first-degree murder since 1980.

Van Dyke took the stand Tuesday, telling the jury that McDonald's face was expressionless -- "his eyes were just bugging out of his head" -- as the teenager kept "advancing" on him, holding a knife.

Standing about 10 to 15 feet away, McDonald "turned his torso towards me," the officer testified.

"He waved the knife from his lower right side, upwards, across his body, towards my left shoulder," the officer said, appearing to get choked up as he demonstrated the action to jurors.

The officer told jurors he then shot McDonald.

Still, McDonald refused his repeated commands to drop the knife, even as he lay wounded, Van Dyke said. McDonald appeared to be trying to get up after the officer stopped shooting, so Van Dyke reloaded -- as he was trained to do -- and fired at the knife, he said.

"I could see him starting to push up with his left hand off the ground. I see his left shoulder start to come up. I still see him holding that knife with his right hand, not letting go of it," Van Dyke said. "His eyes are still bugged out. His face has got no expression on it."

He told jurors: "I just kept on looking at the knife, and I shot at it. I just wanted him to get rid of that knife."

But a prosecutor pointed out inconsistencies in Van Dyke's depiction of the fatal encounter.

The prosecution said Van Dyke fired unnecessarily within six seconds after arriving at the scene, striking McDonald 16 times.

The shooting was captured on a grainy police dashcam video. Van Dyke said he fired in self-defense after McDonald lunged at him with the knife. But the dashcam video -- which a judge ordered the city to release 13 months after the shooting -- showed McDonald walking away from police, rather than charging at them.

During cross-examination, Jody Gleason, one of the prosecutors, tried to challenge Van Dyke's assertion that McDonald raised the knife.

"You've sat here for several days and watched several videos. ... Have you ever seen Laquan McDonald do that on one of those videos?" Gleason asked.

Van Dyke said the dashcam video of the shooting and an animated recreation of the shooting presented by the defense didn't show his perspective. But he acknowledged he didn't see McDonald raising the knife in the recreation.

The dashcam video shows McDonald walking toward a fence on his right as Van Dyke's squad car pulls up, facing the teenager, to the youth's left.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
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Tate354988
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Copiah330869
Simpson327191
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Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
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Marion289882
Leake288676
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George277351
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Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
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Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
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