Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan on Friday ruled that prosecutors can use statements Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke gave to union reps who talked to him at the scene of Laquan McDonald’s deadly shooting.
Though prosecutors had tried to make an issue of the Fraternal Order of Police’s longtime practice of holding press conferences at the scene of police shootings to “broadcast” the union’s version of events — based entirely on what union reps have heard from the shooter— it appeared Gaughan ruled based on the fact union reps have already talked about Van Dyke’s statements with investigators from the FBI and the city Inspector General.
Van Dyke’s lawyers had argued that the statements he gave union reps were akin to the privileged conversations with his lawyer.
“Once a privilege is waived, the door is opened and it can never be shut,” Gaughan said before announcing his ruling. “Once it’s disclosed it’s’ gone, the privilege is gone.”
The ruling allows prosecutors to use parts of conversations Van Dyke had the night of the October 2014 shooting, in which police dashboard camera footage shows Van Dyke firing 16 shots into McDonald, a barrage that began even as McDonald appears to be walking away from Van Dyke.
Van Dyke told CPD investigators that McDonald, 17, was coming toward him and his partner armed with a knife.
Former FOP Lodge 7 spokesman Pat Camden took the stand, the first time he had been in front of TV cameras since he cut ties with the union shortly after the McDonald shooting video was released to the public in late 2015.
Just hours after the shooting, Camden said McDonald had slashed the tires of a squad car and had “100-yard stare” as he encountered officers before Van Dyke arrived on the scene— and also that McDonald had been coming at the officers when he was shot.
“At the time, that is what I was told,” Camden said, though he also said he had only talked to union reps at the scene.