Chicago police officer who killed Laquan McDonald seeks sympathy in outrageous interview ‘I was a great police officer’
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Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke opened up to the Chicago Tribune about killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, the aftermath of the controversial case and his fear of living the rest of his life behind bars.
Van Dyke goes on trial September 5th and many see the interview as an attempt by his defense team to gain sympathy for the accused killer.
Three years after the teen was killed, Van Dyke sat down for his first interview and framed himself as a good cop after he was widely reviled as a rogue racist cop when video footage was released showing the officer assassinate McDonald within seconds of exiting his patrol car.
Despite having been caught lying about the events leading up to the fatal shooting, Van Dyke apparently believes he’s the real victim.
“Everyone wants to be part of the bandwagon of hatred. Anyone who knows me, knows me personally, knows … that I’m not a racist,” Van Dyke claimed in the interview. “That’s a great false narrative. … It’s just slander,” he said.
“I think I was a great police officer,” he said. “I always made efforts to treat everybody fairly and with respect and the way I wanted my own family to be treated.”
Van Dyke fired 16 shots into McDonald, killing him. Many said he was a trigger-happy cop. He said the gravity of his decision to fire his weapon for the first time weighed on him.
“Any loss of life was extremely difficult. It’s something you try to mentally prepare yourself for just in case. … You don’t ever want to shoot your gun. It doesn’t matter if it’s to put down a stray animal or something like that. Nobody wants to shoot their gun,” he told the Tribune. “I never would have fired my gun if I didn’t think my life was in jeopardy or another citizen’s life was. It’s something you have to live with forever.”
Van Dyke claims he keeps McDonald’s family in mind daily.
“I pray every day” for McDonald’s family, said Van Dyke, who is Catholic. “I offer up a rosary every day.”
However, McDonald’s great-uncle doesn’t think Van Dyke is being sincere. He thinks it’s just a pre-trial ploy.
“I don’t know the man,” the Rev. Marvin Hunter said in a telephone interview with the Tribune. “Is he really praying or is he just saying what he thinks you want to hear? They’re trying to write a narrative. They’re trying to influence the jury. I’m not mad or surprised because it’s just legal maneuvers.
“If I were writing the script for him, I would have him say exactly what he’s saying,” Hunter said.
The disturbing video of McDonald’s shooting prompted the City Council to approve a $5 million settlement without the family even suing them.
Van Dyke has since been working as a janitor at the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police lodge.