Officer Who Shot Laquan McDonald Charged With Second Degree Murder

Officer Who Shot Laquan McDonald Charged With Second Degree Murder

Officer Who Shot Laquan McDonald Charged With Second Degree Murder

Mr Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in 2015 after dashcam footage appeared to show him fatally shooting Mr McDonald as he moved away from officers, contradicting official accounts.

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder on Friday for the 2014 shooting of teen Laquan McDonald, a case that laid bare tensions between the black community and the police department in the third-largest US city.

Officers have wide latitude under the law to use deadly force.

Jason Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald 16 times, seconds after arriving on scene, claiming he feared for his life as the 17-year-old was armed with a knife.

A white police officer has been convicted of murdering a black teenager after firing 16 bullets into him during a confrontation.

Prosecutors argued that McDonald's death was not justified and accused Van Dyke of "exaggerating the threat".

But the jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and other charges.

"The video doesn't show my perspective", Van Dyke told prosecutors when asked about the discrepancy.

The justice department issued a report previous year that found the police had routinely violated the constitutional rights of the city's residents.

Van Dyke was the first Chicago police officer to face trial for killing someone on duty in 50 years.

The jury announced the verdict Friday. Dan Herbert, Van Dyke's defense attorney, suggested that police officers will look at the trial and hesitate to fire their weapons in potentially unsafe situations, saying: "It is a sad day for law enforcement". The knew the climate.

Three other officers, including detective David March, and officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney, were charged for allegedly covering up evidence in the shooting. Convictions are even less likely to follow. It's the first time in half a century that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder for an on-duty death. Aggravated battery carries a six- to 30-year sentence. Such outcomes are are rare.

"I think this is a sign that people across the country have been upset and have been showing how upset they are with the system and I think the system is trying to balance itself because its exhausted of us and it should be", said Sanchez. The 20 October 2014 shooting sparked outcry.

Video footage of the shooting was released in November 2015, showing McDonald walking away from the police when he was shot.

The aftermath rallied the city's politics and led to significant changes within the police department.

Upon hearing the guilty verdict, crowds outside the courthouse erupted in cheers. They chose to dispense of first-degree murder charges, and instead convicted Van Dyke of lesser second-degree murder.

Cook County employees at City Hall have been told to go home early on Friday.

The city of Chicago had already reached a $5,000,000 (£3,810,000) civil settlement with the teenager's family. The organisation estimates that the borrowing will eventually cost Chicago taxpayers more than US$1 billion in interest for the life of the bonds.

Tensions remained high in the city as threats of violence have hung like a cloud over the high-profile trial.

Some in Chicago seemed stunned by the guilty verdict. By far the most serious charge Van Dyke faced originally was first-degree murder.

A South Side man was charged with threatening public officials inside the Leighton Criminal Court Building and over social media during the trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke, Chicago police said.

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