A jury in Chicago has announced the verdict in the trial of Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer accused of murdering 17 year old LaQuan McDonald. In a tensely-awaited verdict, the jury found Van Dyke guilty of second degree murder and of aggravated battery with a fdirearm.
On October 20, 2014, a truck driver told police that he had seen someone breaking into vehicles in a parking lot. Police began following 17 year old McDonald, who was carrying a 3-inch pocked knife and walking down the street. Police pursued McDonald, on foot and by car. McDonald refused to stop for the police. That’s when Officer Jason Van Dyke drove up. Van Dyke shot McDonald, firing a total of 16 bullets. He continued to fire even after McDonald’s body fell to the ground.
Police initially said that McDonald had lunged towards the officers with a knife. But video from the a police car’s dashboard, released in 2015, showed McDonald walking away from police before he was shot.
Here’s what you need to know:
1.Van Dyke Was Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder and Aggravated Battery
Van Dyke was charged with a total of 19 counts: two counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct.
The jury found Van Dyke guilty of second degree murder and of multiple counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. The jury found him not guilty of official misconduct.
Ahead of the verdict being read out, Judge Vincent Gaughan warned people in the courtroom to contain themselves, adding that he would have people arrested if there were any outbursts. He also explained that second-degree murder is considered to be a first-degree murder with a mitigating factor.
2. At Least 20 Citizen Complaints Had Previously Been Filed Against Jason Van Dyke
Jason Van Dyke grew up in Chicago. He is married to Tiffany Van Dyke and has two children. Van Dyke, 40, joined the police force 17 years ago. In those 17 years, he has racked up at least 20 complaints, mainly for allegedly using excessive force. You can see a list of the complaints against him, compiled by the Citizens Police Data Project, here. The database estimates that Van Dyke had more complaints filed against him than 94 percent of other officers.
But Van Dyke has also received two civilian “compliments” and 22 “honorable mentions” — more than 78 percent of other …read more