Jason Van Dyke Trial: Defense calls probation officer, forensic technology CEO on Day 2

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Defense attorneys called Laquan McDonald's probation officer and the CEO of a forensic technology company that created a digital animated recreation of the defense's version of the shooting to the stand Tuesday in the trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Van Dyke is accused of first degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Video recorded on police dash camera video shows the teen armed with a small knife. Van Dyke fired 16 shots as McDonald appeared to be walking away.

Court adjourned for the day early at 1:30 p.m. Testimony will continue Wednesday morning.
LIVE BLOG: Jason Van Dyke trial on Laquan McDonald murder charges

Under cross examination, the owner of the forensic technology company acknowledged there were several draft animations created, and that his animations did not include details from that night. The animation also stopped at five shots. Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times.

But each person observing testimony in the trial sees through their own lens. One of the ministers supporting McDonald's family saw the animation as not credible.

"It is not an accurate depiction of what happened the night Laquan was shot and for them to try and use a made-up video as part of evidence, it skews how the jury would view what really happened," Rev. Janette Wilson, of Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said.

Chris Southwood, president of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, to which Van Dyke belongs, was in court Tuesday. He denied that the shooting was unjustified.

"No, deadly force was the only choice and Van Dyke made the right decision and that animation proved it," Southwood said. "Jason Van Dyke made the right decision. And I think the video today, that animation today, went a long ways to prove what I'm saying is correct."

Defense attorneys for Van Dyke are trying to show the jury that their client feared for his life and was acting in self-defense.

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Defense attorneys called two more witnesses Tuesday in the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

McDonald's probation officer testified about a time he was combative in court.

Laquan McDonald Shooting, Jason Van Dyke Case Timeline

McDonald's probation officer, Dana Randazzo, recalled an incident in August of 2014, just a few months before his death when he got into a confrontation at a court hearing.

Randazzo: "He became very upset and combative with the sheriffs."

Defense attorney: "When you say combative, was he physically aggressive toward the sheriffs?"
Randazzo: "Yes."
Defense attorney: "And were these sheriffs in uniform?"
Randazzo: "Yes."

Meanwhile, the defense plans to call witnesses all week, and may rest by Tuesday of next week, so the jury could get the case possibly by the end of next week as the timeline for this trial has changed from day to day.

Community activists have been very vocal about the call for peace and community organizer William Calloway on Tuesday called on all of the gangs in the city for a citywide peace treaty.

"I wanna ask all the gangs throughout the city of Chicago, the GD's the BD's, the Vice Lords, the Stones, the Latin Kings I want everybody in the city of Chicago to put the guns down," Calloway said.

There is also a vigil planned for 6 p.m. outside the courthouse for Laquan McDonald to commemorate his life. McDonald would have been 21 years old Tuesday.

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The verdict may be days or weeks away, but Chicago police are preparing now for the reaction to it while activists make plans for that moment and beyond.

The verdict may be days or weeks away, but Chicago police are preparing now for the reaction to it.

The Chicago Police Department said no matter what the outcome, they have a plan in place, but the number one priority is safety.

Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said CPD is prepared to ramp up deployments or ramp down, depending on the outcome, but they are going to respect people's First Amendment right to protest.

"We are prepared to ramp up deployments if the need arises," Johnson said. "Right now, I don't think that we'll have to do that, but days off being canceled is one of them, going to 12 hour shifts is another one, but again, I don't anticipate anything other than peaceful protest."

When Johnson was asked about the costs to accommodate a possible increase on deployments, he stressed that cost is not an issue when it comes to public safety.

Johnson also said the police will wear regular uniforms for any protests, not riot gear unless necessary.

Meanwhile, community activists and religious leaders are calling for non-violent protest no matter what the outcome.

"I believe in protest, I believe in civil disobedience. I do not believe in any form of violence otherwise we become like Van Dyke," said Father Michael Pfleger, St. Sabina Church.

Pfleger stood alongside Johnson as the department announced successful efforts to remove 1,000 guns off the streets of Chicago.

Tuesday morning at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, community organizer William Calloway made a general plea to the public.

"We want people to know in our community to put the guns down. It's not just if Jason Van Dyke is acquitted. It's in general. If he's convicted or acquitted, we want a peace treaty, citywide," Calloway said.

Pfleger asked Chicagoans to follow the example of NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and take a knee no matter the verdict, to honor McDonald.

"It was about police misuse of power and the shooting of young black men, so what if we had people all around Chicago at the moment the verdict came down take a minute to kneel?" he said.

Pfleger also shared the "take a knee" plan on social media. He said if there is a hung jury or if Van Dyke is acquitted, he plans to organize another protest and peacefully shut down the expressway like he did back in July.
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