Some Jurors Say They Didn't Buy Van Dyke Testimony

Bob Roberts
October 05, 2018 - 4:11 pm

Jason Van Dyke/Cook County Sheriff

Categories: 

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Three of the jurors who convicted Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald told reporters Friday they were not swayed by his testimony.

One juror said it sounded as if he were trying to remember "stuff" that he'd said but wasn't true. She said he "messed up."   

A male juror said he thought Van Dyke sounded overly rehearsed. The same juror said he believed Van Dyke did the wrong thing and should have worked to de-escalate the situation, not escalate it, when police officers encountered McDonald holding a knife in October 2014.  

The jurors said they spent much of their time behind closed doors not on acquittal, but whether to convict Van Dyke of first- or second-degree murder. 

They settled on second-degree because they determined Van Dyke believed he faced a real threat. To convict him of the second-degree murder charge, jurors had to find that Van Dyke's belief was unreasonable.    

Van Dyke testified that McDonald was advancing on him and ignored orders to drop a knife. The police officer fired his service weapon 16 times into the teen.

The dashcam video of the shooting, released in late 2015 under court order, created a racially charged political controversy in Chicago and allegations of a cover-up.  

The jurors chose not to divulge their identities.

Van Dyke also was convicted of aggravated battery. He was acquitted of official misconduct.