Jason Van Dyke, the police officer responsible for fatally shooting Laquan McDonald, has presented his case.
Defense attorneys of Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago Police officer who shot and killed Laquan McDonald, argued on Thursday that the 17-year old teen was to blame for his own death. Prosecutors countered by stating that Van Dyke used unnecessary deadly force and was pre-determined to kill McDonald the night that he died.
Lead defense attorney Dan Herbert made some bold statements in his closing argument to the jurors. “At any point throughout that 20-some-minute rampage had Laquan McDonald dropped that knife, he’d be here today," he said, even though police dash cam footage clearly shows Van Dyke shooting rapidly at Laquan McDonald even after he hits the ground. Herbert requested that the jury use "common sense" while deciphering if Van Dyke should be accounted as a murderer. He stated that his client was, "in reasonable fear for his life," and argues that states that Van Dyke had absolutely no choice but to be brought into the situation.
“Laquan was the author, choreographer of this story. Jason Van Dyke had to be brought into it,” Herbert said. He asked the jurors to “follow your heart ... follow your soul ... follow your mind ... you owe it to Jason Van Dyke; he chose you.”
Prosecutor Jody Gleason argued that, "it wasn’t the knife in Laquan’s hand that made [Van Dyke] kill him that night, it was the indifference to Laquan’s life." She added, "he shot too early, he shot too often, and he shot for way too long. He fired 16 shots into Laquan McDonald’s body.” The jury that will decide Van Dyke's fate arrived at the Leighton Criminal Court in Chicago at about 9:15 a.m. this morning to resume this long, careful discussion.