Jury selection complete in Jason Van Dyke trial

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The twelfth juror has been selected in the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Thursday. Eleven of the 12 jurors were sworn in Thursday. Five alternates were also selected, but not sworn in.

Defense attorneys for Jason Van Dyke are poised to choose whether they want to have a Cook County judge decide the Chicago police officer's fate as opposed to a jury of his peers. They are set to make the decision, which must be made before the 12th juror is sworn in, on Friday.

Van Dyke's attorneys have also filed Change of Venue Motions to have his trial moved out of Cook County, or at least have jurors from outside Cook County, because they don't believe he can get a fair trial due to intense media coverage. The judge could rule on that motion as early as Thursday.

If the Change of Venue Motion is denied, opening statements for either a jury or bench trial will begin Monday.

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The identity of the jurors is being withheld due to safety concerns about the high-profile case. Most of the jury is white, with one African American woman. Two alternates are also African American.

Van Dyke is on trial for first degree murder. Dash cam video released by court order back in 2015 shows the officer firing 16 shots at 17-year-old Laquan McDonald who appeared to be walking away while carrying a knife.

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Thursday morning, the Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham came to Van Dyke's defense. He held a news conference before court saying Van Dyke did not wake up that morning pre-meditated thinking he was going to kill anyone.

"I think that Mr. Van Dyke is not a bad person," Graham said. "I know for a fact that he prays every day. I think he is a good person and he is facing an almost insurmountable amount of public pressure from people who have not heard one piece of the evidence."

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"I would like to see a change of venue," Graham added. "I think that's the fair way to go in this. I think that people who have been here in the city of Chicago have seen that video over and over again. That is a one-dimensional video. That does not tell the whole story."

During the jury selection process prosecutors have accused the defense of trying to remove potential minority jurors. Van Dyke's attorneys have accused prosecutors of discriminating against potential white male jurors.
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