Chicago officer convicted in teen’s death
by Lynde Langdon
Posted 10/05/18, 03:28 pm
A jury on Friday convicted a white Chicago police officer of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of a black teenager. Officer Jason Van Dyke, a 13-year veteran of the force, shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, who was holding a knife and had stabbed the tire of a police car. Officers had him surrounded on a city street and were waiting for someone to arrive with a stun gun to subdue him. Squad car video showed McDonald walking away from police when Van Dyke fired 16 shots. At trial, Van Dyke said the video did not show his point of view, and he believed his life was in danger. His defense team argued that McDonald was dangerous, pointing to autopsy findings that he had the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system.
Prosecutors charged Van Dyke with first-degree murder, but the judge told jurors the second-degree charge was also available if they concluded Van Dyke believed his life was in danger but the belief was unreasonable. Second-degree murder usually carries a sentence of less than 20 years. Van Dyke was the first Chicago police officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in more than 50 years.
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