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Officer Guilty of Second-Degree Murder in Laquan McDonald Killing

Officer Guilty of Second-Degree Murder in Laquan McDonald Killing

A Cook County jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder, as well as 16 counts of aggravated battery.

Van Dyke was found not guilty on official misconduct.

Jason Van Dyke, 40, was the first Chicago officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in about 50 years.

The jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder, making him the first Chicago police officer to be found guilty of murder while on duty in nearly 50 years. The defense built their counterargument around the video not being enough evidence to accurately depict the scenario for Van Dyke.

Van Dyke fired 16 shots in all, killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was holding a knife.

In the closing days of the trial, prosecutors hammered away at testimony from a defense psychologist who said Mr. Van Dyke asked his partner before they got to the scene why other officers hadn't shot the suspect, and told his partner that they would have to.

In a statement Chicago cardinal Blase Cupich appealed for protesters to remain peaceful, declaring "hate has no place" in the city.

"I'm really happy", Curtis said, "I really felt like if they had returned a not-guilty verdict I would have burst into tears immediately".

"[His] eyes were bugging out". Judging by the video McDonald was actually trying to flee from the police, and upon arriving at the confrontation Dyke shot at the teenager and continued to do so even after he fell to the ground.

"I am excited", said Wilson, who is African-American and was born and raised in Chicago. The defence argued that he was not a murderer but a "scared police officer, fearful for his life and others and he acted within his training".




"It wasn't the knife in Laquan's hand that made the defendant kill him that night".

Van Dyke's lawyer, Dan Herbert, compared the scene that night to a monster movie, telling jurors that McDonald had attacked a truck driver and slashed a police vehicle's tires just before he was shot.

The Justice Department launched an investigation, concluding in a scathing report a year ago that the department violates the constitutional rights of residents. Dr. Laurence Miller said that when Van Dyke heard on his radio that McDonald had a knife and had punctured the tire of a squad auto, he told his partner: "Oh my God, we're going to have to shoot the guy". In addition, the presiding judge had reportedly filled the courtrooom with sheriffs to contain any outbursts when the verdict was announced.

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.

"I'm glad they didn't just let him get away with it", said Armani Mitchell, a student at the charter school in the Bronzeville neighborhood.

The Chicago Police Department has been planning for the verdict for months alongside community leaders.

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

Anticipating violence in the wake of Friday's verdict, the Chicago Police Department has canceled overtime and placed an additional 4,000 officers on the streets.

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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