Officer Van Dyke Takes Stand In Laquan McDonald Hearing

(CBS) – A Cook County judge has ruled that some of the statements made by Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke — made the night Laquan McDonald was shot 16 times – are admissible as evidence.

Van Dyke, who faces murder charges in the teen’s police-involved shooting death, took the stand Wednesday during a hearing.

At the center of the proceedings: statements Van Dyke made to Detective David March and Deputy Chief David McNaughton shortly after the fatal shooting McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014. A judge was asked to determine whether to admit the statements for use at trial.

Dan Herbert, the defense attorney for Van Dyke, asked him: “These statements that you gave to Detective March and Commander McNaughton — did you provide those statements voluntarily?”

Van Dyke: “No.”

Herbert: “Did you believe that you were ordered to provide those statements?”

Van Dyke: “Yes, I did.”

CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller says the judge had to decide if those statements are protected by the Garrity Rule.

“The constitution says, according to the United States Supreme Court, a police officer doesn’t have to make that choice between giving a statement or losing his job,” Miller says.

Both McNaughton and March were granted “use immunity,” which means their testimony Wednesday cannot be used against them.

Earlier this week, March and two officers were inducted on charges of conspiracy, official misconduct, and obstruction of justice in connection with the McDonald shooting. They allegedly helped cover up the circumstances of the teen’s death.

On the stand, both March and McNaughton talked about their initial conversation with Van Dyke that night.

“I told him that I needed to know what happened. I informed him that I had been told that there was some video of the incident. I told him that I hadn’t seen it yet, but I had been informed that there was some video, and so therefore it was important that he be truthful with me,” March said.

McNaughton, the cop’s superior, said he did not tell Van Dyke he could be disciplined for not making the statements.

In the end, the judge ruled that Van Dyke’s statements to Detective March were not protected and therefore can potentially be used against him. But the judge also ruled the statements made to McNaughton are protected and therefore can’t be used against him.

This was Van Dyke’s first appearance on the witness stand since his indictment for the murder of Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke did not want to be videotaped as he testified, but audio was allowed.

Longtime defense attorney and legal observer Richard Kling says it’s likely Van Dyke’s lawyer will try to get the trial moved. He also thinks there is a good chance the case will end up as a bench trial – determined by a judge – rather than a jury trial.

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