Killer Cop Van Dyke Gets on Stand and Lies—Again—to “Justify” the Murder of Laquan McDonald

When the Jury Goes Out, People Must Act!

| Revolution Newspaper |


Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago cop who carried out the wanton murder of Laquan McDonald with 16 bullets took the stand on Tuesday, October 2, in his trial on first degree murder charges. And as the dashcam video was played in the courtroom—which shows Van Dyke advancing and firing at Laquan as he is walking away with his hands at his sides—the killer cop blatantly lied. He claimed that Laquan “waved the knife from his lower right side upwards, across his body, towards my left shoulder”—when the video shows no such thing. In response to his lawyer asking him whether Laquan was “advancing” toward him, Van Dyke claimed, “He never stopped.” Again—no such thing is shown on the video. And Van Dyke claimed that he kept on firing until he had emptied his gun, because “I could see him start to push up with his left hand off the ground. I see his left shoulder start to come up. And I still see him holding the knife with his right hand, not letting go of it.” Yet again, the dashcam video exposes this as a lie.

On top of all this, this killer pig spewed out racist poison in his attempt to justify his crime, several times describing Laquan as having eyes “bugging out”—trying to depict the youth as some “frightening” and “violent” animal, a “savage,” that had to be dealt with by lethal force. He even claimed he saw Laquan with “eyes…still bugged out” as he was on the ground, riddled with bullet holes, his bone shattered, bleeding to death.

Asked why the dashcam video doesn’t show what he’s claiming to be the “threatening” moves Laquan made, Van Dyke repeatedly claimed the video doesn’t show his “perspective.” He was shown an animated re-creation introduced as “evidence” by his lawyers purporting to support some of Van Dyke’s claims. Asked why even that animation doesn’t show Laquan raising the knife in a threatening way, Van Dyke said it’s “not my perspective because it’s showing the back of my head and not from my eye level.”

Yes, Van Dyke was seeing things from his “perspective”—the “perspective” of the pigs whose real job is, as Bob Avakian brings out, not to serve and protect the people but to serve and protect the system that rules over the people and enforce relations of exploitation and oppression. And as part of that, the “perspective” of the police is to look at Black and other oppressed youth automatically as “criminals” and to brutalize and even kill them at the slightest provocation or for no reason at all except the color of their skin or the way they talk.

And what about the so-called “prosecutors,” whose job supposedly is to get a conviction of the accused? The cross-examination of Van Dyke was not even done by the main “special prosecutor” but by an assistant, and they wrapped up the cross-examination in less than 30 minutes! Here was an opportunity to powerfully expose the actions of this killer cop and tear his lies to shreds—using his own words. But aside from a few attempts to point at contradictions between Van Dyke’s words and the dashcam video, the prosecutors basically pulled their punches. And this follows the previous two weeks of the trial: the prosecutors putting on as one of their main witnesses Van Dyke’s partner on the night of the murder, who proceeded to argue the defense’s case; and then the second execution of Laquan McDonald by the defense, who brought on a parade of “witnesses” to paint him as a youth with a “violent” past (see the article here). And while Van Dyke’s lawyers were allowed to do this, not one word about Van Dyke’s violent past—like how he was in the top 3 percent of Chicago cops with brutality complaints against them—was uttered during the whole trial even when Van Dyke took the stand and spoke of his history as a police officer, “I've pulled out my gun a few times, but I am proud of the fact that I'd never fired it til that night.” This meant that the prosecution could have questioned him extensively about his history in cross examination—but once again, the prosecution failed to prosecute.

Also in the courtroom on Tuesday, the defense brought up another “expert” to back up their attempt to have Van Dyke walk free. A psychologist specializing in “stress” on cops—and who had interviewed Van Dyke sometime after he killed Laquan—said as part of his testimony, “In an emergency situation, if something is bad, you gotta do something. You’ve got to escape. But wait, you can’t just escape you have to neutralize the threat because that’s your job….” This was another insidious attempt to portray Laquan as the “threat” and “aggressor” and Van Dyke as not just an officer who was doing his “job” but was even the “victim” in the situation.

During his testimony, this psychologist let out that in his interview with Van Dyke, the cop had said that while he and his partner were in the squad car on the way to the scene of the eventual killing, Van Dyke had said, “Oh my God, we’re going to have to shoot this guy.” All Van Dyke knew at that point was that other cops were following someone who had popped the tire of a police car. But already, this pig was itching to pull the trigger—and in fact did, 16 times, murdering Laquan.

The judge said at the end of Tuesday that the trial was nearing the end. It is possible that the case could go to the jury (and even reach a verdict) by the end of the week. The way the trial has gone indicates the possibility of a great injustice—the cop who murdered Laquan McDonald walking totally free or with some lesser charges.

Black pastors, activists and others have called for the city to be shut down with nonviolent protests, boycotts and other actions if Van Dyke is found not guilty.

Carl Dix and Cornel West have issued a call for people to “Come to Chicago & Add Your Voice to Call for Justice for Laquan McDonald: WE MUST REFUSE TO ACCEPT THE KILLER OF LAQUAN MCDONALD WALKING FREE!”

The Revolution Club Chicago said as part of their call to action at the start of the trial: “Mobilize when the jury goes to decision. If Van Dyke IS found guilty, CELEBRATE the struggle that achieved this. IF Van Dyke is allowed to go free, business-as-usual NEEDS TO BE SHUT DOWN.”

And Carl Dix of the Revolutionary Communist Party, who has been in Chicago carrying out revolutionary work around the trial, said:

When the jury goes out, don’t be alone. If you’re in a school, stop school and go out front and listen and wait; if you’re the teacher, change the lesson to something relevant to understanding, and acting to stop, this horror. If you’re in college, go to a common room, or cafeteria or plaza—wherever people are. If you’re at work, stop work and gather around a radio or TV or phone. If you’re in your house, go out on the corner, or into a bar, or into a laundromat, and be with people. If you’re “doing business,” stop the business and start talking with people around you. If you’re out in the burbs, and there are no corners where people gather, call your friends and go witness together somewhere, on a busy corner, a mall, wherever. While you’re waiting, talk about what this means if this killer cop walks. If you have a sign, hold it; if you don’t have one, make one; start making those signs now so you’re ready.

And when the jury comes back—whatever they say, act accordingly.


Dashcam Video of Officer Jason Van Dyke Shooting Laquan McDonald

Police murder Laquan McDonald at 5 minute mark

Bob Avakian, "The police, Black youth and what kind of a system is this?"

This is a clip from REVOLUTION: Why It's Necessary, Why It's Possible, What It's All About, a film of a talk by Bob Avakian given in 2003 in the United States.

Find out more at
Justice For Laquan McDonald! Convict Van Dyke and Throw Him in Jail— The Whole Damn System Is GUILTY AS HELL!


Get a free email subscription to

Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.