Chicago verdict raises hope of greater police accountability
A rare scene in the American justice system unfolded Friday in a Chicago courthouse: A white officer stood before a mostly white jury and was convicted of killing a black teenager.
It was the second such verdict nationally in two months. Jason Van Dyke’s guilty conviction for second-degree murder and multiple counts of aggravated battery for fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times came two months after a Texas officer was convicted in the killing of a 15-year-old unarmed black boy.
The pair of guilty verdicts could signal a shift in momentum after years of delayed arrests, non-indictments and not guilty verdicts. Activists and advocates say that their efforts, along with the ubiquity of cellphone camera evidence, could be changing the power balance between police and black communities.