Laquan McDonald: Verdict reached in Chicago police shooting

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As previously reported, Laquan McDonald was fatally shot on October 20, 2014, on Chicago's South Pulaski Road, after officers responded to a report of him carrying a knife. Van Dyke fired 16 shots at McDonald, with a grand jury adding one count of aggravated battery for each bullet fired.

He was found not guilty of official misconduct, according to a live stream of the trial. According to CNN, this is the first time since 1980 that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder.

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

The punishment for second-degree murder is no less than four years but no more than 20 years behind bars. Jurors were told Thursday they had the option of convicting Van Dyke of second-degree murder, which is probationable. Jurors can also consider second-degree murder. That's the criteria for second-degree murder.

First-degree murder requires a finding that the accused knew the killing wasn't justified but did it anyway. "While the officer may have thought that he was acting in self defense, that was not a reasonable belief".

Van Dyke, 40, was the first Chicago officer to be convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting in 48 years.

Since the report's publication, the city has seen a new police superintendent take charge, and Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced that he is not seeking re-election. The defense built their counterargument around the video not being enough evidence to accurately depict the scenario for Van Dyke. Van Dyke was also found guilty on 16 counts of aggravated battery that carried sentences of six to 30 years. McDonald spins, then crumples to the ground.

"We all saw the footage. there can be no justification for emptying the clip for an unresponsive 17-year-old kid lying in blood on the pavement".

Prosecutors and defense attorneys argued over what the video actually proved.

By the time Van Dyke arrived, police patrol cars had McDonald effectively surrounded in a quiet area in the early hours. "He made it up".

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Members of the jury later told reporters that Van Dyke's testimony was not credible and seemed rehearsed.

Advocates hope that the right verdict will come in Van Dyke's trial. Van Dyke testified that the teen was advancing on him, ignoring his shouted orders to drop the knife.

One of the last images prosecutors showed jurors was an autopsy photo of McDonald's body. The video unleashed a series of mass protests and citywide unrest.

Van Dyke had been on the force for 13 years when the shooting happened.

Though he was never disciplined, a jury did award $350,000 to a man who filed an excessive-force lawsuit against him. Police only said that they made an arrest following several threats against police officers and public officials.

Van Dyke conceded that he stepped toward McDonald and not away from the teen, as he had initially claimed. Police officers worked to hide what happened on the scene, and in initial reports they stated that McDonald had lunged at them with his knife. They have all pleaded not guilty. The Justice Department investigated multiple police departments and found patterns of racial discrimination.

The city of Chicago had already reached a $5,000,000 (£3,810,000) civil settlement with the teenager's family.

The issue of race permeated the case, though it was rarely raised at trial. "Cases, such as Laquan McDonald, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling, [Sandra Bland] and Philando Castile are brutal illustrations on why we need a clear documentation of facts when citizen-encounters with police turn deadly".

But Van Dyke's attorney, Dan Herbert, said the video, the centerpiece of the prosecutor's case, doesn't tell the whole story and is "essentially meaningless based on the testimony" jurors heard.