CHICAGO — Kevin Graham, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, is speaking out in support of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke.
Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder, official misconduct and aggravated battery in the 2014 slaying of Laquan McDonald. So far, 10 jurors have been selected in Van Dyke's trial, and jury selection is scheduled to continue Thursday.
"Mr. Van Dyke did not wake up that morning, premeditated, thinking he was going to kill anyone," Graham said, addressing the media outside of the Leighton Criminal Court Building.
Graham said he believes Van Dyke's First Amendment rights have been violated since he's been unable to defend himself in the media due to a decorum order issued by the court. Graham also blamed city officials for not shouldering any blame for what happened.
"At some point, the city of Chicago should have taken some responsibility for what occurred that night — for the lack of supervision, the lack of personnel and the lack of equipment that could have been made this outcome very different," Graham said. "And yet we've heard nothing from the city of Chicago about that. And that could change the outcome of this trial."
Graham also said he would like to see a change of venue for the trial, which Van Dyke's defense team has long argued for, saying it would be impossible to find impartial jurors in Chicago. Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan has yet to rule on a motion to move the trial.