Chicago police officer convicted in 2014 fatal shooting of teen Laquan McDonald


The shooting triggered widespread protests in Chicago, a city already struggling with soaring murder rates.

A jury found Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of a downgraded second-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.

Van Dyke, 40, was charged with first-degree murder, official misconduct and aggravated battery in the October 20, 2014, slaying of 17-year-old McDonald, who was shot 16 times. She said she was a little disappointed that Van Dyke wasn't found guilty of first-degree murder but said his conviction was a step toward "what we've been fighting for forever and needs to be an example".

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on any charges the first day of deliberations on Thursday, but were able to come to a consensus Friday morning after sleeping on it.

The panel of eight women and four men - seven of them white, one black, three Hispanic and one Asian - began deliberations Thursday afternoon. Eighteen police officers were charged with either murder or manslaughter in connection with an on-duty shooting in 2015, still the highest total since 2005, according to data collected by Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminal justice at Bowling Green State University. This past March it was revealed that the Baton Rouge officers responsible for killing Alton Sterling will not have charges brought against them.

"You heard what it was that he said, 'I guess we'll have to shoot him, '" Gleason said, referring to testimony about what Van Dyke told his partner before arriving at the scene.

It has placed officers on 12-hour shifts in anticipation of the trial's outcome. Police said he had slashed a tyre on a patrol auto, resulting in a stand-off between the teenager and officers.

Juror 243 said the jury settled on a second-degree murder conviction because they believed Van Dyke genuinely felt he was justified, but they thought a trained police officer should not have shot McDonald in that situation.

In their closing arguments, the prosecution said Van Dyke could have taken many other actions, but in the end chose to use deadly force without justification. "So we had to say not guilty on that", Juror 245 said. An autopsy showed McDonald had a small amount of the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system when he died.

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The verdict is the latest chapter in a story that has made headlines since a judge ordered the release of squad vehicle video of the shooting in November 2015.

Juror 245 added that Van Dyke didn't take enough time to assess the situation after he arrived at the scene, noting he shot McDonald only six seconds after getting out of his vehicle.

Surveillance footage of the incident showed Van Dyke appeared to shoot McDonald while the younger man was walking away from the officer.

This Oct. 5, 2018 photo provided by the Cook County Sheriff's Office in Chicago, Ill., shows Jason Van Dyke.

The city paid out a multi-million-dollar settlement to McDonald's family, and Van Dyke was indicted for the shooting in December of 2015.

Defence attorney Daniel Herbert called it "unprecedented" for an officer to be charged with murder for doing his job to stop an armed offender.

Standing about 10 to 15 feet away, McDonald "turned his torso towards me", the officer testified.

'Laquan McDonald represents all of the victims that suffered what he suffered'. Jurors were told only that Walsh was testifying under "use immunity", meaning his testimony can't be used against him as long as he was truthful, but were never told about the allegations he faces.

But Van Dyke and his attorneys maintained that the video didn't tell the whole story.