Judge rules conversations between Van Dyke, FOP reps admissible in trial

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Friday, August 11, 2017
Judge rules conversations between Van Dyke, FOP reps admissible in trial
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Former FOP spokesman Pat Camden was on the stand Friday, testifying in a hearing for Jason Van Dyke, the officer charged with the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Judge Vincent Gaughan ruled Friday that conversations between Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, two Fraternal Order of Police members and former FOP spokesman Pat Camden after the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald could be used against him at trial.

Defense attorneys argued the conversations Van Dyke had with the FOP representatives are "privileged" and cannot be used against him, citing a 1967 supreme court ruling that protects law enforcement officers from self-incrimination.

But prosecutors at the pretrial hearing said there was never any privilege.

"It was never relayed in confidence, it was never relayed to these individuals with the idea that it would not be shared with third parties," said Joseph McMahon, a special prosecutor. "It is not a confidential communication."

FOP field representatives Kriston Kato and Marlon Harvey, who talked to Van Dyke at the scene of the shooting, also took the stand Friday.

"I remember him saying, and I didn't question him on it, that the guy had a knife," said Harvey.

Camden also gave testimony, admitting he never independently verified information he gave to reporters about the police involved shooting.

"The information I release is given to me by the union rep from FOP," Camden said.

When Van Dyke entered the courtroom, protesters chanted "no justice, no peace," and were removed from the courtroom floor. The 5th floor hearing was packed with demonstrators, including activist William Calloway, who was instrumental in getting the video of the shooting released. Calloway was also removed from the courtroom for wearing a shirt that said "16 shots."

"Jason Van Dyke should face justice for what he did...he should face justice right here at 26th and California," Calloway said.

Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder, official misconduct and aggravated battery after shooting McDonald 16-times in October 2014.

Video of the shooting, which was released in November 2015, sparked citywide protests and was seen throughout the country.

McDonald, who was armed with a 3-inch blade as he allegedly was stealing car radios, was killed on the South Side as Van Dyke and his partner responded to the scene.

The judge previously ruled that some of the statements Van Dyke made the night of the shooting are admissible.

The next hearing is scheduled for September 7.