Finally. Jason Van Dyke, the white Chicago police officer who shot Laquan McDonald 16 times, has been found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm (one for each shot). It’s not the first-degree murder prosecutors were looking for, but it should lock Van Dyke up for a long, long time.
GUILTY OF SECOND DEGREE MURDER
GUILTY AGG BATTERY
GUILTY OF BATTERY with FIREARM. (16 counts of Agg. Bat. one for each shot)
Not guilty of Murder One.
To flush out the data and background,
Laquan, a teenager of color, was walking down the middle of the street, after having words with a third party. The Chicago Police gathered around him, while he kept walking in the middle of the street, holding a pocket knife.
On the way to the scene, Officer VanDyke told another Chicago Cop, “Looks like I may have to shoot him.” In court, he testified that he felt in fear of being attacked.
As Laquan was walking away from VanDyke, VanDyke shot Laquan 16 times in the back, killing him at the scene.
Rahm Emanuel, Chicago’s Mayor, refused to release the cop car video, probably dooming his political career, especially after the video finally did get released.
The trial court set some extraordinary guidelines for the press. Information, court rulings, in camera discussions, were repeatedly kept from the media. The local media was not pleased, but actually, in retrospect, I think the judge got it about right. Certainly, I do not believe his approach with the media would constitute reversible error. Also, the judge gave the defense great lattitude, some saying, way too much, but the judge claimed he trusted the process, and he trusted the jury.
Seven hours of debate, over two days, and finally a guilty verdict.
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