Lawyer of Chicago Cop Who Killed Laquan McDonald: Video Is ‘2-Dimensional,’ Not Always Clear

Daniel Herbert is the attorney of Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago officer charged with murder for the fatal shooting of black teen Laquan McDonald.
CNN screenshot

The lawyer for a white Chicago police officer who has been charged with murder in the 2014 shooting death of a black teenager insinuated on Wednesday that video of the shooting is unreliable, while insisting that his client feared for his life when he shot Laquan McDonald 16 times.

Daniel Herbert appeared on CNN and defended his client, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who arrived at a scene 18 minutes after a suspect wielding a knife allegedly started threatening businesses and vandalizing police cars. Van Dyke shot 17-year-old Laquan multiple times within 30 seconds of his arrival.


Authorities say that Laquan had a pocket knife and had the drug PCP in his system at the time of his death. 

“The reason my client Jason fired his weapon that evening back in October 2014 is that he truly was in fear for his life as well as the lives of his fellow police officers,” Herbert said, breaking down his client's feelings at the time, adding that the actions were "justified." 

Van Dyke fired 16 shots, emptying his gun at the teen, and was preparing to reload.

Dash-cam video of the shooting has since been released, prompting peaceful protests across the city. Video footage appears to show the teen retreating from the officers before he was killed. Herbert, however, was quick to say that video "is not always that clear." 


"Video, no matter how clear it is, there are problems with video. … Video by its nature is two-dimensional. It distorts images. So what appears to be clear on a video sometimes is not always that clear," he said.

The Chicago Police Department had been reluctant to release the video, claiming that it would taint the investigation. 


Watch the full segment below:

Share This Story