Chicago, IL – During former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke’s sentencing hearing on Friday, prosecutors presented a litany of “traumatized” suspects that he had contact with throughout his career.
Officer Van Dyke fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, while the knife-wielding teen, high on PCP, walked down the street and ignored officers’ commands.
He was convicted of 16 counts of aggravated battery and second-degree murder on Oct. 5, 2018, and faces up to 96 years in prison, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The first witness in the prosecution’s parade of alleged offenders was Vidale Joy, who claimed that Officer Van Dyke held his duty weapon to his temple and called him a “black a-- n----r” during a traffic stop in 2005.
“It was as if he was just infuriated – just out of his mind in my opinion,” Joy testified.
He claimed he struggles with depression and occasional anxiety due to the incident, and that he becomes “momentarily catatonic” whenever he sees a law enforcement officer.
On cross-examination, it was revealed that Joy was driving a vehicle with plates registered to another owner when he was stopped.
Although he filed a complaint with the Office of Professional Standards (OPS) after the incident, Joy never told them about his allegations involving the gun and the racial slurs.
“Why didn't you put those in there? The two most salacious allegations that you made?” the defense asked him.
"Maybe because the interviewer acted like she wasn't interested in what I was saying in the first place," Joy retorted.
Next up was two-time drunk driving convict Jeremy Mayers, who testified that Officer Van Dyke choked him after he snuck a cough drop into his mouth while handcuffed in an attempt to throw off a breathalyzer test during a traffic stop in 2011.
Mayers claimed that the officers “forced” him to take several breath tests, and that the fourth one showed up with a reading of .08.
“I thought that since I’d been [at the station] for two or three hours that it would have been gone,” he testified.
On cross-examination, Mayers also admitted that he had marijuana on him at the time of his arrest.
After he was released from jail, Mayers filed a complaint against Officer Van Dyke for allegedly choking him and “twisting” his arm.
“In fact, you made a complaint against all three police officers for the actions that you testified to today, correct?” defense asked.
“I thought it was just against [Van Dyke],” Mayer stammered. “It’s been so long…maybe I did.”
Despite his confusion, Mayer maintained that he “knew” Van Dyke was the officer who allegedly assaulted him.
Prosecutors then called Eric Breachett to the stand to testify about a complaint he filed after an encounter with Officer Van Dyke during a traffic stop in 2009.
Breachett scoffed and smirked on the stand before he pointed Van Dyke out at the request of the prosecutor.
“He’s definitely in the right attire,” he said, mocking the former officer’s jail jumpsuit.
Breachett filed a slew of complaints against various officers over the years, and claimed Officer Van Dyke verbally abused him during the traffic stop, and described him as “pure chaos.”
“I’m just a young black man in America,” he told the court. “I always get in fear for my life when CPD gets behind me.”
The prosecution’s fourth witness was Edward Nance, who sobbed as he testified about an encounter he had with Officer Van Dyke during a traffic stop in 2007.
Nace alleged that the officer yelled at him and removed him from a vehicle while cursing at him, and that his arms were hurt during the altercation.
He also blamed Officer Van Dyke for his mental health struggles, and said he incident caused him to have attention-deficit disorder, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain.
As a result, he has been prescribed many medications, he said.
“How many pills did you take today?” defense finally asked the extremely emotional witness.
He also did not answer defense’s question regarding whether or not he took more medication than usual in anticipation of his testimony.
Nace also claimed Officer Van Dyke had another officer’s badge at the time of the incident, and that he did not find out who he was until six months later.
The defense team confronted Nace about discrepancies between the complaint he filed against Officer Van Dyke and the testimony he provided during the hearing, at which point Nace’s demeanor changed dramatically.
According to the report, Nace blamed Officer Van Dyke for actions that he had previously said were made by other officers.
Nace began laughing as he reviewed the report on the stand, and said it was incorrect. “You’ve got to be kidding me,” he said, as defense told the court they had no further questions.