Jury Declares Chicago Police Officer Guilty in Shooting of LaQuan McDonald

07 October, 2018, 01:30 | Author: Carlos George
  • Laquan McDonald: Verdict reached in Chicago police shooting

Activist William Calloway, who pressed for the city to release the infamous police dashcam video of the Laquan McDonald shooting, demonstrates with others outside the Cook County courthouse where Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder.

As previously reported, Laquan McDonald was fatally shot on October 20, 2014, on Chicago's South Pulaski Road, after officers responded to a report of him carrying a knife.

Dyke became the first Chicago police officer convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting in almost 50 years.

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

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. Van Dyke was found guilty of second degree murder. Van Dyke's bail was revoked and he was immediately taken into custody.

One legal expert predicted that Van Dyke will be sentenced to no more than six years total.

Van Dyke had taken the stand in his own defense in a dramatic courtroom moment Tuesday, where he said McDonald was "advancing" toward him and would not drop the knife he was holding.

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

Authorities had initially said McDonald lunged at police officers, but the footage showed McDonald slowly walking down the middle of Pulaski Road before hitting the ground from Van Dyke's bullets. An extra 4,000 officers will be on the street, according to spokesman Anthony Guglielmi.

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Van Dyke was originally charged with first-degree murder, aggravated battery, and official misconduct, for his role in the shooting dead of black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014. McDonald's death was an abrupt encounter that tore at open wounds between Chicago's government and its community.

What happened at the trial?

"You heard what it was that he said, 'I guess we'll have to shoot him, '" Gleason said, referring to testimony about what Van Dyke told his partner before arriving at the scene.

"[His] eyes were bugging out". "Anything less than murder for what Jason Van Dyke did to Laquan McDonald would not be justice". I could see the pain in these people. The jurors, who did not give their names, said the veteran police officer did nothing to deescalate the situation that led up to the fatal shooting. The police department has recommended firing officers for lying about McDonald's death, and three current or former officers were indicted previous year on charges of conspiring to cover up what happened.

After a second day of deliberation, the jury brought a verdict in the highly sensitive case, which will inevitably be divisive in a city struggling to overcome racial tension between black communities and a predominantly white police force.

The verdict was the latest chapter in a story that accelerated soon after a judge ordered the release of the video in November 2015.

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.

The reaction in Norris Friday was muted: the roughly three dozen people standing around the TV nodded or quietly sighed in relief after the verdict was announced. In addition, the presiding judge had reportedly filled the courtrooom with sheriffs to contain any outbursts when the verdict was announced.

"The video doesn't show my perspective", he said.


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