Trial: Chicago officer guilty of murder in shooting of Laquan McDonald

Cook County Sheriff's Office | AP

Cook County Sheriff's Office | AP

White Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke has been taken into custody just minutes after jurors found him guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Jason van Dyke fired 16 bullets into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald during the 2014 confrontation.

The encounter unfolded when officers came upon McDonald, who had a knife, and called for an officer with a Taser to respond to the scene. Mr. Herbert called the dashboard camera video, a centerpiece of the prosecution's case, "essentially meaningless" because it didn't show Mr. Van Dyke's perspective.

Jurors have reached a verdict in the trial of a white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. In recent years, fatal shootings of civilians by police officers in Cincinnati, Milwaukee, North Charleston, South Carolina, and the Minneapolis area have spurred intense protests, followed by criminal charges, then by acquittals or deadlocked juries.

Nothing can brink back McDonald, but thankfully Jason Van Dyke is being held accountable.

The 12-person jury, which includes one black member, began deliberating on Thursday afternoon after 2-1/2 weeks of testimony.

Van Dyke was charged with first degree-murder in the October 2014 killing, a charge that requires a finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable. The anger at how the city had handled the Van Dyke case may be one reason why Mayor Rahm Emanuel abruptly decided not to seek a third term.

Prosecutors contend the shooting was unjustified and that Van Dyke was planning to shoot the teen before getting out of his squad vehicle. But it would take a year of resistance from Chicago officials (both in the police and at City Hall) and an order from a federal judge before that footage would be publicly released. But Gaughan said jurors could find that Van Dyke truly believed his life was in jeopardy but that that belief wasn't reasonable.

Van Dyke faced two counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct.

Gleason said Van Dyke had made up his mind about what he'd do before even arriving at the scene.

"I thought the officers were under attack", Van Dyke said.

Yesterday a jury convicted the police officer of second-degree murder. Jurors found him not guilty of official misconduct.

'Laquan McDonald represents all of the victims that suffered what he suffered'.

Mr Van Dyke pleaded not guilty, with his defence arguing that had the teenager dropped his weapon, the officer would not have opened fire.

Schools and businesses braced for potential unrest, and people across the city paused in the middle of the day to listen for the jury's decision.

Another possibility is that the defense will ask, under complicated legal rules, for the judge to merge the crimes for which Van Dyke is convicted for sentencing purposes since they were all tied to a single event, Mr. Greenberg said.

The department said in a statement that it had "a comprehensive operating plan to ensure public safety in all of our neighbourhoods while simultaneously protecting the rights of peaceful demonstrations".

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