Judge rules Jason Van Dyke must appear in court during murder trial

EMBED </>More Videos

A judge denied former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke's motion to not appear in court. (WLS)

The Chicago police officer accused in the murder of Laquan McDonald must continue showing up in court for hearings in the case.

On Thursday, Judge Vincent Gaughan denied Jason Van Dyke's request to skip hearings out of a concern for his safety.

Early in the case, there was much public outcry.

Protesters were often in court and outside of court when Van Dyke would appear.

The crowds have waned, but the Cook County Sheriff's Department continues to offer security to allow Van Dyke to pass through the public way safely.

Van Dyke's attorney filed a motion that requested reducing the former Chicago police officer's exposure to the public at Cook County courthouse by waiving court appearances.

"This case is special, the threats are real and the sheriff is liable for the safety of Mister Van Dyke," Dan Herbert, Van Dyke's attorney, said.

Three people with the Cook County Sheriff's Department were called to testify on Thursday. One sheriff's deputy testified that on Thursday someone made a comment to Van Dyke on the way to court.

Van Dyke is accused of murdering Laquan McDonald and shooting the teenager 16 times.

Van Dyke's father who didn't not comment outside of the courthouse also testified that he previously fell and had damage to his vehicle when protests were organized outside of the courthouse.

The special prosecutor told the Judge while there may have been words or signs, Van Dyke has not been physically in danger.

"This defendant should be treated like every other defendant. Albeit, this is a high profile case," Joseph McMahon, special prosecutor, said.

"It's our job to make sure everybody in this building is safe," Bradley Curry, Cook County Sherriff's Department chief operating officer, said.

Cook County Sheriff's executives testified that appropriate security was in place for Van Dyke and that there was no credible threat against him.

"Somebody get special that may impact a trial. You don't want to do anything that could impact a trial where somebody gets special treatment," Curry said.

There were no protestors on Thursday.

Van Dyke is due back in court May 25 and he will continue to be require to use public access as other defendants do.

In April, a judge warned protesters not to bother Van Dyke when he tried to make his way to and from the courtroom.

Judge Gaughan said he would hold in contempt of court anyone who comes inside the courthouse with a sign and starts "waving it around."

In March, a protester with a sign that made a reference to the 16 times Van Dyke shot McDonald confronted him outside the courthouse.
Related Topics:
newslaquan mcdonaldjason van dykeChicago
(Copyright ©2017 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

Load Comments