CHICAGO — The judge in Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke's murder trial doesn't want certain words used in court.
Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan ordered prosecutors not to refer to 17-year-old Laquan McDonald as a victim. Lawyers are also not allowed to use the term "code of silence" about Chicago police.
Van Dyke fatally shot McDonald 16 times in October 2014. The teen had been stealing car radios with a small knife. Police who responded to the scene in Archer Heights called in a radio request for a Taser. Van Dyke and his partner responded to the call, but never specified on police radio whether they had a Taser. Within seconds of arriving on the scene, Van Dyke shot and killed McDonald.
Van Dyke now faces charges of first-degree murder, official misconduct and aggravated battery. He is free on bond. His trial is slated to begin Sept. 5.
Dashcam video of the McDonald shooting may be played at the trial, the judge ruled. He argued that McDonald could not be called a victim at trial, however, because if Van Dyke's actions are ruled justifiable, McDonald would not be considered a victim.
McDonald's mother, Tina Hunter, appeared in court Thursday to face questions about her son’s violent past. Attorneys interviewed her in a closed-door session that was off limits to press and the public. Hunter previously ignored subpoenas to appear in court, but was told she'd be barred from the trial if she did not appear Thursday.
Gaughan will determine whether Hunter's testimony will be relevant to the upcoming trial.