Chicago ver­dict raises hope of greater po­lice ac­count­abil­ity

New Haven Register (Sunday) (New Haven, CT) - - OBITUARIES/NEWS -

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.

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