Officer Who Shot Laquan McDonald Charged With Second Degree Murder

Jason Van Dyke en route to the courthouse

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He was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery but was found not guilty of official misconduct. The aggravated battery with a firearm convictions carry a sentence of six to 30 years with no probation.

By far the most serious charge Van Dyke, 40, faced was first-degree murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was charged with first-degree murder, but the jury had the option to determine that there were mitigating factors to classify the shooting as a second-degree murder instead.

The punishment for second-degree murder is no less than four years but no more than 20 years behind bars.

But an officer can be frightened and still act unjustly.

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. McDonald was not moving toward the officers at all at the time of the shooting.

The 12-person jury, which includes one black member, began deliberating on Thursday afternoon after 2-1/2 weeks of testimony.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Friday that he could not go into specifics as to what the threats were.

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The prosecution quickly countered that Van Dyke's account was not corroborated by video evidence of the shooting.

Laquan spins, then crumples to the ground.

"It's Jason Van Dyke firing bullets, ripping into the flesh of Laquan McDonald 16 times".

Prosecutors and defense attorneys clashed over what the footage actually proved. But Mr. Greenberg said judges nearly always order defendants to serve such sentences simultaneously. "That video is indisputable, and if a jury doesn't see that... He made it up".

Van Dyke was a late arrival to the confrontation.

"I thought the officers were under attack", Van Dyke said. Although initial claims from cops said that the 17-year-old lunged at police, video of the encounter released 400 days later revealed that was not the case.

"We have to look at this from Jason Van Dyke's perspective", he said. 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. McDonald wound up in juvenile detention after an arrest for marijuana possession in January 2014. The shooting also led to a federal inquiry and calls to reform the Chicago Police Department. An autopsy showed McDonald had a small amount of the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system when he died.

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Van Dyke told the jury Tuesday that McDonald's face was expressionless - "his eyes were just bugging out of his head" - as the teenager kept "advancing" on him, holding a knife.

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

Mr Van Dyke pleaded not guilty, with his defence arguing that had the teenager dropped his weapon, the officer would not have opened fire.

Groups of demonstrators took to the streets for several hours after the verdict, chanting, "The people united will never be defeated", and "Sixteen shots and a cover up".

The Justice Department launched an investigation, concluding in a scathing report a year ago that the department violates the constitutional rights of residents. The Justice Department investigated multiple police departments and found patterns of racial discrimination. But it would take a year of resistance from Chicago officials (both in the police and at City Hall) and an order from a federal judge before that footage would be publicly released.

The issue of race permeated the case, though it was rarely raised at trial. McDonald was pronounced dead at hospital.

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