CHICAGO (CBS)— Five jurors so far have been selected in the murder trial of Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke.
Monday was the fourth day of jury selection for the trial, which could be one of the most-watched criminal trials in Chicago’s history.
A Latin-American woman with three young children was the first juror chosen. She reportedly told attorneys she respects police and wants to see Van Dyke get a fair trial. Three more were chosen this afternoon, including a white woman in her 30s, who said, “I want to see evidence before coming to a conclusion.”
Two men were also chosen. One man, who is Asian American, said he has heard about the case but can be fair. The other, who is white, said he needed to start listening to African Americans’ stories. He said he has not followed the Van Dyke case and has not seen the video of the shooting.
Still, in the early rounds of questioning, most of the potential jurors were dismissed, CBS 2’s Jim William reports.
One white woman, a teacher, with a masters degree from Northwestern, said of the video showing Van Dyke shooting and killing Laquan McDonald.: “Once you see it hard to deny it’s murder.” She believes the city delayed releasing the video to “protect police and the mayor.”
Potential jurors likely had to walk by a small group of protesters who were gathered out front calling for justice for McDonald.
They want Van Dyke to be convicted of first degree murder for the October 2014 killing of the 17-year-old, who was a ward of the state.
VanDyke shot McDonald 16 times as the teen appeared to be walking away from him on Pulaski Road.
Van Dyke claims he was just doing what he was trained to do.
The notoriety surrounding the McDonald killing has caused the defense to repeatedly request that the trial be moved because they say a fair and impartial jury can’t be found in Cook County.
But so far, the judge hast’t granted that request.
A pool of 200 potential jurors were given questionnaires last week to kick off the jury selection process.
“Questions about their personal lives, their beliefs, what magazines they read, what television shows they watch, whether or not they own a gun, whether or not they’re members of the NRA,” CBS 2 Legal Analyst Irv Miller said. “All to get into their heads to see if there’s a bias there that could hurt one side or the other.”
JVan Dyke, 40, is accused of killing McDonald nearly four years ago.
At any time during the jury questioning process, Van Dyke can opt for a bench trial to put the decision in the hands of the judge.
That choice remains open to van Dyke all the way up until a jury is sworn-in.