With jury selection less than one week away, the former Chicago police officer who shot and killed an unarmed black teenager in 2014 was appealing for mercy from the court of public opinion before he has to face a judge.
McDonald’s family wasn’t buying the fake tears.
“I don’t know the man. Is he really praying or is he just saying what he thinks you want to hear? They’re trying to write a narrative. They’re trying to influence the jury. I’m not mad or surprised because it’s just legal maneuvers,” McDonald’s great-uncle, the Rev. Marvin Hunter, told the Chicago Tribune.
Van Dyke talked publicly on Tuesday for the first time about the shooting, which set off a wave of massive protests. He said he lives in fear of his safety and shed tears when discussing the possibility of going to prison for the rest of his life. The ex-officer insisted that he was just doing his job as he was trained by the Chicago Police Department.
He spoke with the newspaper for about 40 minutes at his lawyer’s office, with careful oversight from his attorneys.
The former cop stands charged with first-degree murder for the shooting death of 17-year-old McDonald, firing 16 times at the unarmed teenager. He was arrested one year later—only after a court ordered the public release of a dashcam video showing exactly what happened. There were also allegations that Van Dyke and other police officers tried to hide evidence surrounding the shooting.
In the interview, the former officer described himself as the victim of political scapegoating and said he feels remorse for McDonald’s death.
“I pray every day” for McDonald’s family, he claimed, adding that he “offers up a rosary every day” for them as a religious Catholic.