Officer Guilty of Second-Degree Murder in Laquan McDonald Killing

CHICAGO IL- OCTOBER 05 Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke left is led away after his guilty verdict in his trial for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building

CHICAGO IL- OCTOBER 05 Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke left is led away after his guilty verdict in his trial for the shooting death of Laquan McDonald at the Leighton Criminal Court Building

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.

At some point during the confrontation, Officer Van Dyke opened fire, shooting the boy 16 times. Before he got there, McDonald had reportedly swung his knife at one witness, who had called 911. But Van Dyke opened fire within seconds of emerging from his patrol auto and most of the shots were fired after McDonald fell to the ground.

Mr. Van Dyke was charged in 2015 when protests against police brutality were sweeping the nation, putting pressure on prosecutors to act. Three officers, including Van Dyke's partner that night, Joseph Walsh, have been charged with trying conspiring to cover up and lie about what happened to protect Van Dyke.

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

Van Dyke was remanded in custody and faces between four and 20 years in jail for second-degree murder. Mr. Van Dyke was found not guilty of official misconduct.

Prosecutors contend the shooting was unjustified and that Van Dyke was planning to shoot the teen before getting out of his squad vehicle. But Van Dyke said McDonald was behaving erratically and had lunged at him with the knife. Jurors were told Thursday they had the option of convicting Van Dyke of second-degree murder, which is probationable.

CHICAGO - Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago police officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder on Friday, almost four years after he shot and killed Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old holding a knife. But Gaughan said jurors could find that Van Dyke truly believed his life was in jeopardy but that that belief wasn't reasonable.

"I thought the officers were under attack", Van Dyke said.

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They acquitted him on the least serious charge, official misconduct.

Image copyright Laquan McDonald Image caption Laquan McDonald was 17-years-old when he was shot and killed in October 2014 How did the shooting unfold?

The police department had prepared for demonstrations in the event of a not guilty verdict, but after dialogue with community organisers senior officers told local media they did not anticipate any plans for organised violence or destruction.

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.

"The video doesn't show my perspective", he said.

A week before jury selection began, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced he would not seek a third term, although his office insisted the case had nothing to do with his decision. "Should this occur, it may create potentially unsafe situations around the city".

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi declined to provide additional information and would not say whom the threats were targeting, or if the threats are related to those received by Van Dyke's daughter on Thursday.

The Chicago Police Department has canceled days off and put officers on 12-hour shifts.

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