Defense calls Chicago police officer 'scared'

Photo: MGN Online/Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
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CHICAGO (AP) -- A defense attorney for a white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald says the officer "acted as he was trained to do."

Attorney Daniel Herbert says Officer Jason Van Dyke was "a scared police officer who was fearful for his life and the life of others" when he opened fire on McDonald. Herbert made the comments during opening statements Monday at Van Dyke's trial.

Prosecutors earlier had shown showed video of the shooting. It shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as the 17-year-old walks away from officers. He was carrying a small knife.

Herbert says McDonald had tried to attack a truck driver with his knife. But special prosecutor Joseph McMahon called the shooting "completely unnecessary."

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Prosecutors are showing jurors video of a white Chicago police officer fatally shooting black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Prosecutors showed the video 15 minutes into opening statements Monday in the trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke. It shows Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times as the 17-year-old walks away from officers.

Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon called the shooting "completely unnecessary." He said McDonald was armed with a 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) knife when Van Dyke shot him. McMahon says Van Dyke started firing six seconds after getting out of his squad car.

The defense is set to make its opening statement after prosecutors finish theirs.

Judge Vincent Gaughan on Monday denied a defense request to move the trial from Chicago.

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A judge has decided that the murder trial of a white Chicago police officer charged in the 2014 shooting death of a black teenager should not be moved out of the city.

Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan announced his decision Monday morning.

Defense attorneys requested that the trial be moved because the extensive publicity since the 2015 release of the video that shows Officer Jason Van Dyke shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times makes it impossible to find impartial jurors needed for a fair trial.

But attorneys were able to select a jury in less than a week.

Opening statements will be later Monday.

Herbert says McDonald had tried to attack a truck driver with his knife. But special prosecutor Joseph McMahon called the shooting "completely unnecessary."