Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke found guilty in the shooting death of black teen- Laquan McDonald- after being shot 16 times as he backed away.
A white Chicago cop was on Friday found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager, Laquan McDonald, 17, that was captured on dashcam video.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported Jason Van Dyke, 40, the first Chicago officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in more than a half century, showed no emotion when the guilty verdict was read.
The second-degree verdict reflects the jury’s finding that Van Dyke believed his life was in danger but that his belief was unreasonable.
The panel of eight women and four men — seven white, one black, three Hispanic and one Asian — also had the option of first degree-murder, which required a finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable.
Van Dyke also was convicted of all 16 counts of aggravated battery and acquitted of official misconduct. The aggravated battery charges stemmed from the black teen being shot in a hail of 16 bullets as he backed away from police the Chicago Tribune reported.
Yesterday, a Chicago police officer was found guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager, which was caught on camera back in 2014. @RonMott is in Chicago with the story. pic.twitter.com/yWNXdtMWZy
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) October 6, 2018
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke guilty to save ‘political’ asses:
Following news of the cop’s guilty verdict, car horns and celebratory whoops were heard outside the Cook County courthouse. The city had been bracing for widespread demonstrations had a possible not guilty verdict been reached.
Prominent activist and mayoral candidate Ja’Mal Green said: ‘Today is a step in the right direction. Or course we wanted first-degree murder but we got second-degree murder. Jason Van dyke needs to go to jail for the rest of his life.’
But not everyone was pleased with the guilty verdict, with Illinois Fraternal Order of Police State Lodge President Chris Southwood condemning the verdict.
Told Southwood, ‘This is a day I never thought I’d see in America, where 12 ordinary citizens were duped into saving the asses of self-serving politicians at the expense of a dedicated public servant.’
The ACLU of Illinois issued a statement, ‘We continue to grieve for the McDonald family and broader community, which lost this young man too soon. We also remember the many families who have lost loved ones to excessive force by police officers who have not yet received justice.
‘No one believes that the conviction of this individual officer repairs the problems in policing – not in Chicago nor in our country. While Mr. Van Dyke will face accountability for his actions, it is critical that the rest of us do not yet look away from the Chicago Police Department. In the aftermath of this verdict, no community should suffer abuse or neglect.’
A very striking exchange toward the end of Jason Van Dyke’s testimony.
— Jamal Andress (@JamalAndress) October 2, 2018
Activists are getting ready for the verdict in the Laquan McDonald murder trial, “I think the city is going to come out en masse.” pic.twitter.com/K9RaAqfn3v
— VICE News (@vicenews) October 4, 2018
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke: ‘I was responding in accordance to my training.’
On the day of McDonald’s shooting death, cops had been called out after reports of a burglary when police happened upon the teen who was carrying a knife. The boy was soon surrounded on a city street, with police waiting for someone with a stun gun to use on him when Van Dyke arrived, according to testimony and video.
The dashcam video showed the officer firing repeatedly, shooting even after the youngster was lying on the pavement.
Prosecutors and defense attorneys argued over what the footage actually proved.
Prosecutor Jody Gleason said Van Dyke told investigators that McDonald raised the knife, that the officer backpedaled, and that the teen tried to get up off the ground after being shot.
‘None of that happened,’ she said. ‘You’ve seen it on video. He made it up.’
Van Dyke’s attorney, Dan Herbert, insisted the video didn’t tell the whole story and was ‘essentially meaningless based on the testimony’.
During testimony, Van Dyke testified fearing for his and fellow officers lives when he fired off no less than 16 gunshots at the youth. The police officer said he was responding in accordance to his training.
Herbert cited testimony from Van Dyke’s partner that night, Joseph Walsh, who said he saw the teen raise the knife, even though the video doesn’t show that.
‘The video is not enough,’ he said. ‘It shows a perspective, but it’s the wrong perspective.’
Following the guilty verdict, Herbert called Van Dyke ‘a sacrificial lamb’ offered by political and community leaders who had been under heightened scrutiny ‘to save themselves’.
The lawyer said it was a ‘sad day for law enforcement’ because the verdict told officers they couldn’t do their jobs.
‘Police officers are going to become security guards,’ he said.
Don’t say the system worked because Jason Van Dyke was convicted of murder for killing Laquan McDonald. The system tried to protect Van Dyke at every turn. https://t.co/XDi17Y2RWM pic.twitter.com/HRrMX25fhv
— Adam Serwer ? (@AdamSerwer) October 6, 2018
Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke: A history of 20 citizen complaints.
Van Dyke had been on the force for 13 years at the time of the shooting.
According to a database that includes reports from 2002 to 2008 and 2011 until 2015, he was the subject of at least 20 citizen complaints, eight of which alleged excessive force.
Though he was never disciplined, a jury once awarded $350,000 to a man who filed an excessive force lawsuit against him.
Van Dyke faces a minimum of six years prison or up to 20 years jail on the second-degree murder charge.
The shooting has since led to a Federal Government inquiry and calls to reform the Chicago Police Department. It remains what action CPD will undertake four years after Laquan McDonald’s shooting death.
Hours after Jason Van Dyke was convicted in the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, his family gathered in the same tiny white West Side church where his funeral was held in 2014.
— Chicago Sun-Times (@Suntimes) October 6, 2018