Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke Guilty Of Murder In Laquan McDonald Shooting

A jury also found the offi­cer guilty of 16 counts of aggra­vat­ed bat­tery in the teen’s killing.

By Andy Campbell

A Cook County jury delivered a verdict in the murder trial of Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, charged in the 2014 on-duty sho

A Cook County jury deliv­ered a ver­dict in the mur­der tri­al of Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke, charged in the 2014 on-duty shoot­ing death of Laquan McDonald.

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police offi­cer charged with mur­der in the 2014 shoot­ing death of teenag­er Laquan McDonald while on duty, was found guilty on Friday.

A Cook County jury found Van Dyke guilty of sec­ond-degree mur­der, as well as 16 counts of aggra­vat­ed bat­tery. He was acquit­ted of offi­cial mis­con­duct, and a charge of first-degree mur­der was vacat­ed for the sec­ond-degree mur­der con­vic­tion. 

Judge Vincent Gaughan revoked bail and ordered Van Dyke tak­en into cus­tody to await sen­tenc­ing lat­er this month.

The jury delib­er­at­ed for less than eight hours over two days in the case, in which Van Dyke faced the pos­si­bil­i­ty of life in prison for shoot­ing 17-year-old McDonald 16 times on a Chicago street in October 2014.

Chicago police were on high alert as the city pre­pared for a ver­dict in the rare tri­al of an offi­cer accused of mur­der for an on-duty killing. Hundreds of police were seen pack­ing street cor­ners and city parks. Jurors, who delib­er­at­ed for five hours on Thursday and about 2 12 more on Friday, were sequestered by Judge Vincent Gaughan and kept at an uniden­ti­fied hotel overnight.

Van Dyke tes­ti­fied in his own defense that he feared for his life and that McDonald was behav­ing errat­i­cal­ly (an autop­sy revealed PCP in his sys­tem). His defense team cit­ed a state law that allows offi­cers to use dead­ly force if it’s nec­es­sary to stop a flee­ing sus­pect who has com­mit­ted a felony while using a dead­ly weapon, accord­ing to Vice News. McDonald was car­ry­ing a knife at the time, but police dash­board cam­era footage refut­ed Van Dyke’s claim that the teen was aggres­sive­ly swing­ing the blade at him.

Three oth­er offi­cers await tri­al on charges of try­ing to cov­er up the killing and obscure the inves­ti­ga­tion.

Assistant pros­e­cu­tor Jody Gleason argued that Van Dyke had no right to fire even one shot, let alone 16, includ­ing sev­er­al that struck the teen in the back, and while he was already on the ground. Subscribe to the Politics email​.How will Trump’s admin­is­tra­tion impact you?

It’s Jason Van Dyke fir­ing bul­lets, rip­ping into the flesh of Laquan McDonald 16 times. That’s not jus­ti­fied, that’s not nec­es­sary — that’s first-degree mur­der,” pros­e­cu­tor Joseph McMahon told jurors, accord­ing to NPR. He urged jurors to con­vict on first-degree mur­der and aggra­vat­ed bat­tery.

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.

When a mon­ster turns and looks at the vic­tim, that’s when the music starts to play,” the defense lawyer said.

Two alter­na­tive jurors who were dis­missed from the tri­al on Thursday said they would have leaned toward find­ing the offi­cer guilty of mur­der, accord­ing to the Chicago Tribune.

One of them, a white woman, not­ed that oth­er offi­cers on scene that night didn’t use dead­ly force. 

Where was [McDonald] actu­al­ly caus­ing an issue that Jason Van Dyke thought that he need­ed to use dead­ly force? I just didn’t under­stand that,” the alter­na­tive juror told the news­pa­per.