A Chicago police officer’s murder trial has started, but the court has some reservations.
In 2014, Jason Van Dyke fatally shot Laquan McDonald, an African-American teenager, after firing 16 bullets in his body. He died.
But the cop who happens to be white continued shooting long after McDonald dropped to the ground and lost consciousness.
Now a Chicago judge has ruled that prosecutors cannot call McDonald a victim until closing arguments during Van Dyke’s murder trial. “Here we have the defense of self-defense. So, if it’s justified, justified use of force, then there is no victim,” said Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan.
The brutal cop’s attorneys have been trying to cover-up his crime for a long time, claiming he was acting in self-defense. He wasn’t.
The footage that was released after a year of the tragedy showed McDonald walking away from the cops when Van Dyke shot him. McDonald’s killing is among the many horrific instances where white police officers use excessive use of force against people of color. The teenager died because of police brutality and racial profiling and now the court does not want to call the man who lost his life to this absurdity a victim.
“Certainly, there is a person that’s dead as a result of this tragic situation but that doesn’t mean that the person is a victim legally,” Gaughan said.
There is a general impression among Chicagoans that police misconduct often goes unpunished which has created distrust between the cops and the people of the city. And a judge barring prosecutors from calling a black teenager killed at the hands of a white cop a victim is adding more to the damage that has been done.
Gaughan said prosecutors can only call McDonald a victim in the closing argument and that too, if the “evidence supports it.”
The two police officers who had tried to cover up Van Dyke’s killing were simply assigned to “desk duty,” despite their involvement with the cover up. One of the officers backed Van Dyke’s claim that he acted in self-defense after McDonald got within 12 to 15 feet of the officers and "swung the knife toward the officers in an aggressive manner."
None of that happened in the video.
If Van Dyke gets convicted, he will be jailed for life. His trial will start in September. However, if he walks off freely, there is bound to be unrest throughout the country.
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