A shocking verdict came back for the 2014 murder of teenager, Laquan Mcdonald. A jury has convicted white Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder.
Van Dyke was initially charged with first degree-murder in the October 2014 slaying of the Chicago teen, who was Black. It’s a charge that requires a finding the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable. The judge had advised jurors the second-degree charge was also available. That charge would take into consideration that Van Dyke believed his life was in danger but that the belief was unreasonable. He was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery but acquitted of official misconduct.
The Chicago Police Department has a notoriously racist history of abuse of power, use of excessive force and even murder but this is the first time in 50 years that a police officer was actually convicted in an on-duty killing.
The dash cam footage played a great part in the conviction. That video also helped the McDonald family gain a $5 million dollar settlement without having to file a wrongful death suit against the department. Officers lied and claimed that McDonald attacked with a knife. They even stated in reports that they feared for their lives and McDonald continued to raise the knife after they shot him. In the video, McDonald was seen walking away when he was shot and was subsequently shot a few more times while he laid dying and motionless on the ground. Smoke from the bullets could be seen coming off of his body.
Van Dyke, 40, was facing a life sentence in prison had he been convicted of first-degree murder. Second-degree murder generally carries up to 20 years.
Even in the eye of “justice” white privilege and racism reigns. The 12-member jury had one black juror even though African Americans make up 31% of Chicago’s population. Police officers lied on a young Black kid and in cold-blood shot him down in the street. They never attempted to arrest him. Van Dyke shot him 16 times in 15 seconds. Laquan McDonald never uttered a word to them but somehow a second-degree murder conviction was handed because jurors believed multiple white men with guns were scared of a Black boy with a knife who was walking away.
A conviction was needed and due but this wasn’t, by any stretch of the imagination, a victory for Black people.