Jason Van Dyke Trial: Will he take the stand?

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Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is charged in the death of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

As the Jason Van Dyke trial continues into its third week on Monday, the major question is whether the Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke will take the stand.

This may be the final week, with some expecting that closing arguments being delivered as early as Thursday.

Meanwhile, legal observers agree that the defense has done a good job poking holes in the prosecution's portrayal of the former police officer as an out-of-control cop. They also say that if the defense wants to succeed, Van Dyke needs to take the stand himself.

LIVE BLOG: Jason Van Dyke trial on Laquan McDonald murder charges

"It's always a risk to put your client on the stand in a murder case. However, can it get any worse? The only view they have of him is firing the 16 shots into McDonald," said Bob Milan, an ABC7 legal analyst.

Van Dyke, 40, faces two counts of first-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in connection with the 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Dashcam video shows Van Dyke discharge his weapon 16 times shortly after getting out of his squad car has been played for the jury time after time since the beginning of the trial.
Laquan McDonald Shooting, Jason Van Dyke Case Timeline

To counter it, his defense team created an animation of what the shooting may have looked like from Van Dyke's perspective. His partner, Joseph Walsh, testifying for the prosecution, may have also helped, with Walsh asserting that Van Dyke had a "reasonable fear" for his life.

So, does Van Dyke really need to testify?

"It's imperative," Milan said. "They need to know why he did what he did. They need to know what was going on in his mind and in his heart and they need to know that he's a human being just like everybody else, who was thrust into a tough situation."

As a police officer Van Dyke has experience testifying in open court. That might give him an advantage responding to prosecutors if he decides to take the stand.
Related Topics:
jason van dykemurdertrialchicago police departmentlaquan mcdonaldChicagoNorth Lawndale
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