Verdict Reached In Chicago Officer's Trial In Laquan McDonald Killing

Saul Bowman
October 8, 2018

Jurors found Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and also convicted him on 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm - one charge for each shot fired at the teenager.

Chicago police released graphic video that captured the shooting death of Laquan McDonald on October 20, 2014 by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke. He was acquitted of official misconduct, and a charge of first-degree murder was vacated for the second-degree murder conviction.

This verdict marks the latest in the seemingly endless string of shockwaves stemming from McDonald's death and the subsequent release of the video, which continues to reverberate across the the city and dominated the second term of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

The shooting sparked widespread protests when dashcam footage, from a nearby vehicle, was released a year after the incident.

Miller thinks Van Dyke testifying in his defense made a difference in him being convicted of second-degree murder. He was found not guilty of official misconduct, the Associated Press reports.

Miller said this could help Van Dyke's case for an appeal.

The jury is made up of one African-American woman, one Asian man, three Latino women, four white women and three white men. It's possible that he was legitimately fearful when he shot the teen 16 times, as he and Laurence Miller-a Florida-based clinical psychologist-testified in the former police officer's defense. Police said he was holding a knife.

"If the court lets Van Dyke walk free, that would be illegitimate violence too - a threat against every black and brown youth in Chicago", they said.

Gaughan ordered sheriff's deputies to immediately take Van Dyke into custody pending his sentencing. McDonald was pronounced dead at hospital.

What happened at the trial?

They have all pleaded not guilty.

"[His] eyes were bugging out".

Mr. Van Dyke's lawyers maintained that he was doing his job and shot in fear for his life. I see his left shoulder start to come up. Eighteen police officers were charged with either murder or manslaughter in connection with an on-duty shooting in 2015, still the highest total since 2005, according to data collected by Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University. The video also disputed Van Dyke's claims that he shot at McDonald because he lunged at him with a knife.

The city saw protests after video of the shooting was released in 2015, and activists have been planning how they might react to a verdict.

The long-delayed footage resulted in mass protests, culminating with the dismissal of the police chief and a Department of Justice investigation into the Chicago Police Department's use of force and practices.

Van Dyke was officially charged with murder, but he wasn't the only person with blood on his hands.

Some schools were preparing to send students home early if the verdict was announced during classes.

The aftermath rallied the city's politics and led to significant changes within the police department.

"It shows a perspective, but not the right perspective", he said.

Police have been put on 12-hour shifts to bolster available numbers by up to 4,000 officers.

The city has been on edge in advance of the verdict and city officials and business owners have beefed up security in expectation of protests.

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