The Latest: Officer thought McDonald might have had gun

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the murder trial of a white Chicago police officer (all times local):

11 a.m.

A Chicago police officer has told jurors at the trial of white police officer charged with murder in the 2014 death of black teenager Laquan McDonald that McDonald looked menacing when she arrived at the scene earlier and she thought he could have had a gun.

Leticia Velez was the first witness Wednesday for lawyers for the accused Chicago officer, Jason Van Dyke. Velez had arrived in the area before Van Dyke arrived and shot McDonald 16 times as he walked away carrying a knife. McDonald didn’t have a gun.

She testified that when she saw McDonald he was holding his side. She told jurors she thought that might mean he had a gun. She also said that McDonald “looked deranged.”

The defense is seeking to establish that Van Dyke had a reasonable fear that McDonald posed a threat. Prosecutors have stressed that no other officers fired at McDonald.


11:25 p.m.

The trial of a white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the death of black teenager Laquan McDonald resumes with the defense presenting evidence for a third day.

Jason Van Dyke’s lawyers haven’t said who will testify first Wednesday.

The focus Tuesday was on an animated video produced for the defense purporting to show Van Dyke’s perspective as he shot McDonald 16 times. The animation sought to establish the officer had a legitimate fear for his life.

A dashcam video of the 2014 shooting is from a different angle, behind McDonald. It’s the centerpiece of the state’s case .

Van Dyke could testify. But his attorneys may see the animation as a substitute for his testimony. If the 40-year-old officer testifies, that would expose him to potentially blistering cross-examination.

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