DETROIT — The attorney defending the Detroit man accused of killing rapper Mac Miller left the courtroom Friday a target of intense criticism from both Miller’s fans and those following the trial.
Attorneys have filled two main courtroom seats in Wayne County Superior Court in Detroit for the first time for the trial of Jason Van Dyke, the city’s police officer accused of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Miller, who was shot and killed in his McLaren Drive home.
Miller’s family and friends are also present to watch.
In the courtroom on Friday, Ina Treciokas was forced to defend her clients actions amid the showing of a video of Van Dyke as he talked about Miller and how he pointed a handgun at him.
“I am not condoning the self-defense or culpability of a member of law enforcement,” Treciokas said. “I am sorry this is an unnecessary intrusion into any grief this family is going through.”
She called Van Dyke’s actions self-defense, and then he asked if he could use his self-defense in a deposition she said she would consider to support that motion.
“Could he ask that in the deposition?” she asked.
“Sure,” she said.
Treciokas became increasingly frustrated with special prosecutor Robert Adler, who repeatedly interrupted as he continued to ask questions. She then spoke about the content of a short video of Van Dyke talking about the incident to another officer shortly after the shooting.
“I am a teacher, and every assignment is a fair teaching moment,” she said. “Everyone needs to hear the truth.”
After the video of Van Dyke, who has been married for 30 years, talking about Miller was played in court, audience members, friends and family members stormed out of the courtroom.
The Independent Police Review Authority, the Michigan Civilian Police Commission and the Department of Corrections have all investigated Van Dyke’s actions.
Authorities say Van Dyke shot and killed Miller, a “substitute teacher,” after pulling his gun out in a dispute over Miller sending threatening text messages to Van Dyke’s wife.
The jury heard Friday from the paramedic who responded to Miller’s home and from local police officers who were first on the scene.
Special prosecutor Robert Adler said he expected the video to “resemble” reality — like the war movie “Hollow Man” — and that he was very eager to see it and its timeline.
“This was a crime scene,” he said. “You do not wind up getting to crime scenes like this.”
Adler had said earlier that he wanted the public and the jury to be aware of the circumstances surrounding the “murder of an unarmed young man,” adding, “I don’t want to misrepresent what was seen and what was said.”
In court Friday, Treciokas said she did not have a problem with the use of the video. She said it was acceptable and allowed in the courtroom to show how the prosecution sees it.
“We don’t want to frighten the jury — I understand that,” she said. “It’s the evidence.”
She then asked the jury, which includes Miller’s close friends and family and other family members, to show their respect to everyone in the courtroom.
“Let’s show these other individuals … respect,” she said.