Chicago Officer Convicted of Murder for Shooting Black Teen

Jason Van Dyke convicted in the death of Laquan McDonald
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 5, 2018 2:35 PM CDT

(Newser) – A jury on Friday convicted white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald, the AP reports. Van Dyke had been charged with first-degree murder in the October 2014 killing, a charge that requires a finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable. But the judge told jurors the second-degree charge was also available, requiring them to find Van Dyke, 40, believed his life was in danger but that the belief was unreasonable. Jurors also convicted him of aggravated battery, but acquitted him of official misconduct. It's the first time in half a century that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder for an on-duty death. McDonald was carrying a knife when Van Dyke fired 16 shots into the 17-year-old as he walked away from police.

Second-degree murder typically carries a sentence of fewer than 20 years. The verdict is the latest chapter in a story that has made headlines since a judge ordered the release of squad car video of the shooting in November 2015. The video, played repeatedly at trial, shows Van Dyke opening fire. McDonald spins, then crumples to the ground. Van Dyke continues to shoot when the teen is lying in the street. The jury that convicted Van Dyke included one African-American member, seven whites, three Hispanics, and one Asian-American. The former officer was immediately taken into custody after the verdict. Van Dyke showed no outward emotion as the judge ordered him held pending sentencing. He stood up from the defense table and then put his arms behind his back as two deputies led him away.

(Read more Jason Van Dyke stories.)

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