Jason Van Dyke Guilty of 2nd Degree Murder: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know


Jason Van Dyke trial: Guilty verdict returned by jury in the shooting of Laquan McDonaldcbsnews.com/news/jason-van-dyke-trial-jury-begins-deliberations-in-case-of-chicago-cop-who-shot-laquan-mcdonald/ The city of Chicago is watching closely for word of a verdict in the case of a white Chicago police officer charged with murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald. The jury determining Officer Jason Van Dyke's fate is expected to continue deliberations Friday after starting them on Thursday afternoon. Subscribe…2018-10-05T19:08:55.000Z

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 firearm.

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 pocket 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 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

Jason Van Dyke guilty

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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

GettyJason 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 Chicago police officers.

Van Dyke has said that the video showing him shooting McDonald doesn’t convey his own experience. He said that from his perspective, it looked like McDonald was aiming the knife towards him. Defense attorneys have also brought up the fact that McDonald has a juvenile record and a history of drug use.


3. Three Police Officers Have Been Charged With Conspiracy & Obstruction of Justice in the Case

Three police officers have been accused of conspiring to cover up for Jason Van Dyke in connection with the death of LaQuan McDonald. Thomas Gaffney, former detective David March, and ex-police officer Joseph Walsh were all on the scene on that October night in 2014 when Van Dyke shot McDonald. Prosecutors say the officers all conspired to exaggerate the threat posed by McDonald, in an effort to get Van Dyke off the hook.

All three officers have all been charged with conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors say the three men exchanged emails so that they could get their version of events straight: then they all told identical stories of what had happened.

Prosecutors are also expected to call as a witness a fourth officer to testify that March told her to lie and say that Van Dyke was injured by McDonald. That officer’s name has not yet been given out.


4. Chicago Was Bracing for Riots Ahead of the Verdict Being Announced

The atmosphere was tense in Chicago as the city, and the police department, prepared for a possible response to the Van Dyke verdict. There were signs that the police department was bracing for riots. Barricades were set up outside of the courthouse, and police officers were ordered to work 12-hour shifts; officers were also asked to cancel their days off.

City Hall officials said they had created a 150-page “action plan” so as to be ready for whatever might happen.

Alderman Derrick G. Curtis issued a “Special Alert” on his Facebook page, writing, “In the event Officer Van Dyke is acquitted I am asking all residents to join me in continuing to help me keep our neighborhood safe. If you see any acts of violence or vandalism please call 911.”


5. A Justice Department Investigation Found There Were Systemic Problems Within the Chicago PD


Activists Predict Outrage In Chicago If Cop Who Killed Laquan McDonald Goes Free (HBO)Jason Van Dyke took to the witness stand on Tuesday in the Laquan McDonald murder trial. VICE News speaks to friends and family of McDonald, police officers and Chicago citizens about the ongoing trial. Subscribe to VICE News here: bit.ly/Subscribe-to-VICE-News Check out VICE News for more: vicenews.com Follow VICE News here: Facebook: facebook.com/vicenews Twitter: twitter.com/vicenews…2018-10-04T12:31:46.000Z

In 2017, the Department of Justice released a report following a long investigation of the Chicago Police department. The report found that there was a “pattern or practice of using force, including deadly force” within the department. You can read the full report here.
The Justice Department also said that there were “serious concerns” about what it called “racially discriminatory conduct” by members of the Chicago police department. And, the report added, the police department was apparently tolerating and failing to correct that conduct.

In a press release to announce the report, the Justice Department said “The department’s findings further note that the impact of CPD’s pattern or practice of unreasonable force falls heaviest on predominantly black and Latino neighborhoods, such that restoring police-community trust will require remedies addressing both discriminatory conduct and the disproportionality of illegal and unconstitutional patterns of force on minority communities.”

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