Quantcast
Connect with us

Chicago policeman defends shooting of black teen at trial

Published

on

The white Chicago police officer who shot to death a black teenager in 2014 told jurors at his murder trial on Tuesday that he felt threatened when he opened fire, as he took the witness stand in his own defense.

Jason Van Dyke, 40, is accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times and faces charges of first-degree murder, aggravated battery and official misconduct in a case that has focused attention on race relations and policing in the third-largest U.S. city.

ADVERTISEMENT

He is the first Chicago police officer to face a murder charge for an on-duty incident in decades.

Wiping tears away at times, Van Dyke testified that McDonald “never stopped” advancing toward Van Dyke, getting about 10 to 15 feet (3 to 4.5 meters) away from him.

“His face had no expression,” Van Dyke said under questioning from his lawyer. “His eyes were buggin’ out.”

McDonald waved his knife and was still holding the knife when he fell to the ground, Van Dyke said, adding that he shot at the knife. Van Dyke said he did not know how many shots he fired at the time and stopped shooting when McDonald fell.

ADVERTISEMENT

“I’m yelling at him, ‘Drop that knife,’” Van Dyke said. “I just wanted him to get rid of that knife.”

Prosecutors have said Van Dyke was not justified in shooting McDonald. Jurors have repeatedly viewed a video of the incident, which prosecutors have argued clearly shows that McDonald was not moving toward Van Dyke at the time he began firing.

The public release of the video, which came after a journalist filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, sparked days of protests in Chicago.

ADVERTISEMENT

Van Dyke’s lawyers have portrayed McDonald as an unruly, threatening criminal who was under the influence of drugs.

Van Dyke also told jurors he had drawn his gun several times in his career but had never fired his gun in the line of duty before the Oct. 20, 2014 incident. “I’m very proud of that,” he said.

The testimony came during the trial’s third week. The 12-person jury includes one black member.

ADVERTISEMENT

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Joseph Ax, Matthew Lewis and Bill Berkrot


Report typos and corrections to: [email protected].
READ COMMENTS - JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Continue Reading

Facebook

High wire: Cirque du Soleil founder held for ‘growing cannabis’

Published

on

The billionaire founder of global acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil, Guy Laliberte, has been detained on charges of growing cannabis on his private island in the South Pacific, authorities said.

The Canadian entrepreneur was arrested after getting off his plane in French Polynesia and was due to appear before a judge later on Wednesday, prosecutors and reports said.

In a statement, his company, Lune Rouge, said Laliberte uses cannabis for "medical" and "strictly personal" purposes and denied that he was growing the drug on his private island of Nukutepipi for commercial gain.

"Guy Laliberte completely dissociates himself from any rumour implicating him... in the sale or traffic of drugs," it said.

Continue Reading

Facebook

Communism haunts Czechs and Slovaks three decades later

Published

on

Three decades after staging mass protests that freed them from communism, Czechs and Slovaks are hitting the streets again, bitter over pervasive corruption and politicians with roots in that era.

The Velvet Revolution of 1989 saw unprecedented protests and a general strike end four decades of Soviet-imposed totalitarianism in what was then Czechoslovakia.

The country was a member of the Warsaw Pact which crumbled that year as communism collapsed in East Germany, Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania, so ending the Cold War.

But Communists never quite disappeared from politics and are now joining forces with populists in a bid for power in Czechoslovakia's successor states, the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Continue Reading
 

Facebook

Fireworks expected as televised Trump impeachment hearings open

Published

on

Donald Trump faces the most perilous challenge of his three-year presidency as public hearings convened as part of the impeachment probe against him open under the glare of television cameras on Wednesday.

Democrats in the House of Representatives plan to prove over several weeks of hearings that the US leader abused his office by seeking Ukraine's help for his 2020 reelection campaign, and sought to extort his Kiev counterpart into finding dirt on Democratic rival Joe Biden.

Trump says the inquiry is "corrupt" and "illegal," and maintains he did nothing wrong.

"Democrats in Washington would rather pursue outrageous hoaxes and delusional witch hunts, which are going absolutely nowhere. Don't worry about it," he said confidently Tuesday in a speech to the Economic Club of New York.

Continue Reading
 
 
Help Raw Story Uncover Injustice. Join Raw Story Investigates for $1 and go ad-free.
close-image