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Jason Van Dyke Trial: Chicago Residents Prepare For Verdict

Jason Van Dyke Trial: Chicago Residents Prepare For Verdict

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and guilty of aggravated battery charges in the killing of Laquan McDonald, 17, in 2014 in an incident that triggered a number of protests in the city.

A Cook County jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder, as well as 16 counts of aggravated battery.

Jason Van Dyke killed 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald on the 4100 blocks of South Pulaski Road in Chicago, Illinois on October 20, 2014.

The teen, Laquan McDonald, was carrying a knife when Van Dyke fired at him on a dimly lit street where he was surrounded by other officers.

Van Dyke showed no outward emotion as the judge ordered him held pending sentencing.

"This is a victory for America", the Rev. Marvin Hunter, McDonald's great uncle, told reporters.

Van Dyke listened silently as the verdict was read, taking a swig from a water bottle at one point. The jury also had seven whites, three Hispanics and one Asian-American.

Another possibility is that the defense will ask, under complicated legal rules, for the judge to merge the crimes for which Van Dyke is convicted for sentencing purposes since they were all tied to a single event, Mr. Greenberg said.

"If you don't have hope, you don't have anything", she said.

In the aftermath of McDonald's death, three other police officers - including Van Dyke's partner on the night - were charged past year with attempting to cover up the shooting, to which they pleaded not guilty.




The shooting sparked widespread protests when dashcam footage, from a nearby auto, was released a year after the incident.

On Thursday, Van Dyke's family was threatened prompting him to suddenly leave the courthouse.

Police encountered McDonald after a 911 call reported someone breaking into vehicles. They only wish it wasn't such an anomaly for police officers who use excessive force to be punished for their wrongdoing.

Last year, the city borrowed US$225 million on police-related settlements and judgments, bringing the total to US$709 million between 2010 and 2017, according to a report by the Action Centre on Race and the Economy.

"They looked like regular people you would meet on the "L" or see walking downtown", Hatch said of the jury. McDonald is seen still clutching the knife while on the ground, but his lack of movement in the footage questions Van Dyke's claim that he tried to get back up.

The dash cam footage had captured the teen wielding a knife, but he appeared to be moving away from the officers when Van Dyke began shooting. Van Dyke testified that McDonald was the first person he ever shot.

"I'm really happy", Curtis said, "I really felt like if they had returned a not-guilty verdict I would have burst into tears immediately".

The verdict is the latest chapter in a story that has led to the police superintendent and the county's top prosecutor both losing their jobs - one fired by the mayor and the other ousted by voters. It also led to a U.S. Justice Department investigation that found a "pervasive cover-up culture" and prompted plans for far-reaching police reforms.

In the Loop, office buildings and schools closed early in anticipation of protests in response to the verdict. The anger at how the city had handled the Van Dyke case may be one reason why Mayor Rahm Emanuel abruptly decided not to seek a third term.

The issue of race permeated the case, though it was rarely raised at trial. Instead, he was walking away until Van Dyke chose to open fire.