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Vic Mensa ‘not too surprised’ by Jason Van Dyke’s attorney’s use of ’16 Shots’

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 04: Vic Mensa attends Lucky Brand Presents City Jam 2018 at SPiN Chicago on August 4, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. | Getty Images

Chicago musician Vic Mensa’s music was cited as a reason to have Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke’s trial moved out of Cook County.

Mensa told the Chicago Sun-Times that the use of “16 Shots” by Van Dyke’s legal team seems as though it was meant to distract Judge Vincent Gaughan from the public outrage over Van Dyke shooting 16-year-old Laquan McDonald and the graphic dashcam video depicting the shooting.

Mensa tweeted “CONVICT JASON VAN DYKE” on Sunday.

He also told the Sun-Times about an incident he had near Lollapalooza on Saturday.

“I never had much faith that Jason Van Dyke would be convicted because history indicates otherwise. America is a racist empire, so I’m not too surprised they [Van Dyke’s legal team] would use my art to influence their legal illegal proceedings. Yeah, f— the police,” Mensa said. “I got into an incident with the police today because they were ticketing some black men for drinking malt liquor and I thought it was particularly hypocritical that they would be arresting and ticketing poor people during Lollapalooza. Everybody is publicly intoxicated. Most of the people in the festival aren’t poor and aren’t from Chicago and primarily aren’t black.

The Friday hearing to get the location of Van Dyke’s trial moved out of Cook County featured Bryan Edelman, a trial expert called by the defense, showing a clip from Mensa’s “16 Shots” video. The video includes grainy footage of Van Dyke shooting McDonald — and as of Sunday has been viewed about 1.7 million times on YouTube.

“In a big city, it takes a lot for a case to capture your attention,” Edelman said during the hearing. “There’s a lot of powerful imagery out there.”

“16 Shots” is a declaration of anger in which Mensa alleges Mayor Rahm Emanuel lied about when he saw the video and McDonald was killed because he was black. Among the lyrics:

Ain’t no fun when the rabbit got the gun

When I cock back, police better run

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, f— 12

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, f— 12

16 shots

And we buckin’ back

Van Dyke’s attorney, Dan Herbert, did not return a call for comment.

Activist William Calloway, who was one of the two men to file the FOIA request that led to the release of the dashcam video of Van Dyke killing McDonald, has been live tweeting from the proceedings, saying “JVD defense showed @VicMensa music video ’16 Shots’ and images of activist protesting as part of their argument of why the change of venue is necessary.”

Calloway said Edelman told the judge that Van Dyke’s trial should be moved to either Lake County or Madison County, downstate on the Illinois-Missouri border.

“We were in disbelief. We didn’t think the defense would go that route to try to justify it. The video has over a million views, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those views came from Chicago or Cook County potential jurors,” Calloway said. “They are making it seems like [Van Dyke] wouldn’t have a fair and impartial trial. They showed images of activists I know. I think there’s enough jurors here for Van Dyke to get a fair trial.”

Mensa was pragmatic when speaking about the history of black people when it comes to systemic racism.

“It is what it is. We try, we do our best and do our part. We work hard. We know that this nation is built on the backs of slaves and Native Americans,” Mensa said.