Crusader Staff Report
A Cook County judge has denied a request by the defense team to not show the infamous shooting captured on video of Laquan McDonald during the trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke.
However, the mother of the teenager must obey a subpoena or she won’t be allowed to attend the trial of the officer who shot her son 16 times, Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled this week.
The trial for Officer Jason Van Dyke begins September 5 and Gaughan has given several orders that favor both sides of the case.
On Tuesday, August 14, Gaughan ruled that McDonald’s mother, Tina Hunter, must comply with the defense attorney’s subpoena or be barred from attending the trial.
One of Van Dyke’s attorneys, Randy Rueckert on Tuesday told Gaughan his team visited Hunter’s home twice with a subpoena to attend a pre-trial hearing. Rueckert said on both visits, a man turned them away.
Defense attorneys want Hunter to testify about the teen’s troubled past to show his “propensity for violence.”
Gaughan pointed out that the lawyer could have used registered mail. He also said Hunter should be alerted that she won’t be allowed to attend the murder trial if she ignores the subpoena.
Gaughan denied a request by the defense attorneys to not allow jurors to see the infamous dash cam video that shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as he walked away from police. Gaughan also denied the defense team’s request that prosecutors not refer to McDonald’s death as a homicide.
Wednesday’s hearing was open to the public against the wishes of the defense team which asked Gaughan to keep it sealed.
On Wednesday, August 15, Gaughan told prosecutors not to refer to McDonald as a “victim,” saying “let the jury decide.” Gaughan noted that Van Dyke is expected to argue self-defense.
“If its justified – justified use of force – then there is no victim,” Gaughan said. “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.”
Van Dyke’s lawyers also asked the court to bar any allegation that police tampered with cameras or microphones in police cars or the nearby Burger King, where officers viewed surveillance video the night of the shooting. A manager at the fast food restaurant said a portion of the footage had been deleted after several officers finished viewing the tape.