Chicago cop's lawyer: "Not uncommon" to be shot in back, on ground

NEW YORK -- The attorney for a Chicago police officer charged with murder in the death of a teenager shot 16 times said in an interview on CBSN that when he first watched video of the shooting he "came to the same conclusion that most people are coming to."

"There's no question that at first glance, most people are going to come to the conclusion that his actions were unreasonable," said Daniel Herbert, whose client Jason Van Dyke shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014.

Video of the shooting was released under court order on Tuesday. The police dashboard camera recording sparked protests after Chicago residents saw McDonald spin and fall to the ground when first shot, and then lie on the street while hit over and over again, as puffs of debris and smoke rise from his body.

In a Wednesday morning interview on CBSN, Herbert indicated that in court the defense will call experts who will testify that Van Dyke was justified in continuing to shoot McDonald as he lay on the ground.

"It's not uncommon for individuals to be shot in the back, and it's not uncommon for people to be shot after they've gone to the ground. That's simply science at play," Herbert said.

The argument is in stark opposition to how Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez interpreted the tape, which she described as, "graphic. It is violent. It is chilling."

Van Dyke "went overboard," she said Tuesday in announcing charges against the officer. "He abused his authority. And I don't believe the force was necessary."

Alvarez noted at a press conference in Chicago that other officers on the scene said that they did not believe Van Dyke's use of force was necessary, and Van Dyke hinted during the CBSN interview at how the defense will likely counter those claims.

"Nobody was in the position that my client was in," Herbert said. "He was in fear of his life, and he was in fear of the lives of anyone else that was on the scene."

Herbert also noted that before arriving on the scene, Van Dyke had heard on radio dispatches that no officers on scene had a Taser, and McDonald had allegedly slashed a squad car's window and another car's tire.