Jason Van Dyke Trial: Defense's 3rd day focuses on other officers, 911 call

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The defense called witnesses for their third day at the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

Witnesses included police officers, a doctor, and a man who, with the help of a translator, told the jury about how Laquan McDonald threatened him with a knife before the deadly encounter with Van Dyke.

Chicago Police Officer Leticia Velez testified that when she first saw McDonald on the night of October 20, 2014, she was in a squad car. She described his look as deranged, appearing to be in a twilight. An autopsy would later show he had PCP in his system.

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

Officer Van Dyke originally stated that when he got out of his squad car, McDonald was holding a knife in his hand, swinging it in an aggressive manner and after asking him to drop it multiple times, he didn't and continued to advance, so he opened fire saying he feared for his life, shooting the teen 16 times, until he believed he was no longer a threat.

However dash camera video shows McDonald appearing to walk away from officers.

Laquan McDonald Shooting, Jason Van Dyke Case Timeline

The state questioning Velez over if she felt the need to draw her gun in a heated exchange.
Velez: "You are asking me something that transpired four years ago Ma'am."

Prosecutor: "So your memory is fuzzy about what happened four years ago?"
Velez: "About me taking out my gun, about me maybe wiping my nose, yes."
Prosecutor: "I didn't ask you about wiping your nose. I asked you about your gun."
Velez: "So yes. About that, yes. You are asking me did I take it out, was I standing there with it, I don't know. It's muscle memory. If there is somebody with a gun, you're going to take out your gun."
Prosecutor: "He didn't have a gun. He only had a knife."
Velez: "We realized later he did not. That's correct."

After Velez took the stand, truck driver Rudy Barillas testified about encountering McDonald in a truck parking lot.

Barillas testified in Spanish with the help of a translator. He said that he called the police after he saw the 17-year-old breaking into trucks in a parking area about a block and a half long and assumed he was stealing radios. When he confronted McDonald, Barillas said the teen lunged at him with his knife. In response, Barillas threw his cell phone and gravel at him and McDonald ran off.

Barillas called 911 about the incident.

Under cross-examination, Barillas said McDonald was making noises but was unable to speak. He also acknowledged that he assumed McDonald was trying to steal radios but never witnessed that or saw McDonald with a radio.

Meanwhile, Wednesday morning before court began, several Chicago faith leaders held hands and prayed for justice as the trial resumed.

They say they have a delegation of ministers in court today and plan to have some in the courtroom every day until the trial ends.

"Some of the officers saw a troubled child in need of patience and help, but there was one that deemed him unworthy of life and shot him 16 times," Rev. Marshall Hatch said. "Now we pray that justice be done," Rev. Marshall Hatch said.

Meanwhile, an instructor at the Chicago Police Training Academy is expected to testify.
Copyright © 2022 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.