Laquan McDonald: Verdict reached in Chicago police shooting

Staff and students watch the verdict in the Jason Van Dyke trial on the first floor of the Norris University Center

Staff and students watch the verdict in the Jason Van Dyke trial on the first floor of the Norris University Center

Chicago police say a person was taken into custody Thursday night following threats made against "officers and public officials" related to the murder trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The jury heard that the first police officers on the scene kept a distance from McDonald as he walked. Each count corresponded to every bullet Van Dyke shot into McDonald. It's the first time in half a century that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder for an on-duty death. The jurors, who did not give their names, said the veteran police officer did nothing to deescalate the situation that led up to the fatal shooting. So, if Van Dyke gets the minimum for each count, he'd serve six years for all the battery convictions.

The jury of eight women and four men - one African-American, seven white, one Asian-American and three Hispanic - started deliberations on Thursday afternoon.

Prosecutors have argued that the video shows Van Dyke used unnecessary and excessive force, including firing shots after McDonald had fallen to the ground.

Alison Albelda  Daily Senior Staffer Activists in downtown Chicago after Jason Van Dyke was found guilty for second-degree murder
Alison Albelda Daily Senior Staffer Activists in downtown Chicago after Jason Van Dyke was found guilty for second-degree murder

One juror noted as "the turning point" testimony that Van Dyke told his partner, "Oh my God, we're going to have to shoot that guy", before arriving at the scene.

But Van Dyke and his attorneys maintained that the video did not tell the whole story.

Officials in Chicago had braced for potential unrest after the verdict, especially if jurors found Van Dyke not guilty. Jurors are permitted to consider a lesser charge of second-degree murder as an alternative.

Van Dyke, who was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, sat impassively in a dark suit - his shoulders slumped - as the verdicts were read in the high-profile case.

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"My focus was just on that knife", Mr. Van Dyke testified on the stand.

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

After the video's released in November 2015 - the same day Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder - protesters marched on downtown Chicago streets throughout Emanuel's term. In August, a Texas jury found former Balch Springs, Texas Officer Roy Oliver guilty of murder for the April 2017 shooting of Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old black boy who was shot as he sat in the passenger seat of a auto that was driving away from a house party.

"The people's cup has run over with these police violations of people's rights", he said.

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Called The Laquan McDonald Camera Act if the bill is passed, any law enforcement agency that does not comply with the dash cam policy is taxed 10 percent of federal funding unless certification is provided to the U.S. Attorney General. He pleaded not guilty.

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

Make no mistake about Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan: He is in charge of Van Dyke's trial.

As jurors began deliberating, the Chicago Police Department canceled days off and put officers on 12-hour shifts.

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Van Dyke remains an inactive officer on unpaid leave, the department said Friday, pending the Chicago Police Board's review of the recommendation from Eddie Johnson, the police superintendent, that he be fired.

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