CHICAGO — The man charged with murdering an off-duty Chicago police officer rejected a court-appointed attorney and is representing himself in trial.
Jovan Battle, 32, faces murder charges for his role in the shooting that killed 23-year-old Officer John Rivera on March 23.
Police said Rivera was sitting in his car with friends in River North when a group of gang members opened fire on them.
While three people were charged in the murder, including Menelik Jackson and Jaquan Washington, police said Battle, who was not armed that night, encouraged the shooters to fire. They said they have him on pod camera video pointing at Rivera’s car and saying, “blow those b—s.”
Prosecutors said the shooters were looking for revenge after getting into a fight outside a nearby McDonald’s earlier in the night, but they targeted the wrong car of people.
A judge in the case recently ordered Battle to have a psychiatric evaluation. He was found fit to stand trial if medicated. His court file is full of nonsensical handwritten motions.
On Monday, Battle was dressed in a suit coat as he walked into court with a single disheveled file full of papers. The bailiff had to keep reminding him to put his hands behind his back while in front of the judge, even though he’s acting as his own attorney.
Battle repeatedly asked the judge what certain phrases meant and questioned every move prosecutors made.
Forty-five potential jurors are being questioned.
Battle was allowed to question some of the potential jurors Monday afternoon. He asked them things such as, “Do you ever go out downtown Chicago after midnight?” He also asked, “What’s your perception of people with face tattoos?” The judge objected to most of his questions.
The trial will start after jury selection and is expected to last all week.