Chicago Cop guilty of sec­ond-degee mur­der in Laquan McDon­ald death

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

Chicago Po­lice Of­fi­cer Ja­son Van Dyke has been found guilty of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der and 16 counts of ag­gra­vated bat­tery in the shoot­ing of 17-year-old Laquan McDon­ald.

The trial had been go­ing for three weeks un­til the jury started de­lib­er­at­ing on Thurs­day, reach­ing a ver­dict just a day later.

McDon­ald was fa­tally shot and killed by Van Dyke in 2014. It wasn't un­til more than a year later, how­ever, when Van Dyke was charged with first-de­gree mur­der and the video of the shoot­ing was re­leased, that the in­ci­dent touched off protests and helped fo­cus al­ready broil­ing dis­sat­is­fac­tion with Chicago's po­lit­i­cal and po­lice lead­er­ship, es­pe­cially among AfricanAmer­i­can res­i­dents in the city's South Side.

Not only had a young black man been killed by po­lice, but claims that he had been “lung­ing” to­ward them with a knife were found to be to­tally false from the video. Not only was McDon­ald not threat­en­ing the of­fi­cers who had been re­spond­ing to re­ports of car break-ins, he had been walk­ing away from them.

Three of Van Dyke's fel­low of­fi­cers were charged for their roles in an al­leged con­spir­acy to cover up the na­ture of the shoot­ing and pro­tect Van Dyke. They will face trial in Novem­ber. The three of them pro­vided “vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal false in­for­ma­tion” to those in­ves­ti­gat­ing the shoot­ing, prose­cu­tors claimed in a doc­u­ment re­leased Thurs­day.

While Van Dyke was charged with first-de­gree mur­der, his sec­ond-de­gree mur­der con­vic­tion means that the pros­e­cu­tion proved that he had com­mit­ted first-de­gree mur­der but that there was a mit­i­gat­ing fac­tor. The jury found Van Dyke not guilty of of­fi­cial mis­con­duct.

Van Dyke's con­vic­tion Fri­day was the first time in al­most 50 years that a po­lice of­fi­cer in Chicago has been con­victed of mur­der for a shoot­ing that oc­cured on-duty, ac­cord­ing to the New York Times.

Chicago po­lice of­fi­cer Ja­son Van Dyke ar­rives on Sept. 5 at the Leighton Crim­i­nal Courts Build­ing, where the trial took place for the 2014 homi­cide of 17-year-old Laquan McDon­ald.

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