Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder of Laquan McDonald

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty Friday of second-degree murder in the 2014 fatal shooting of Black, 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.  You can click here to read more background on this case.

Van Dyke was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery; one for each bullet he sent into the 17-year old’s body. He was found not guilty of official misconduct.  Second-degree murder usually carries a sentence of less than 20 years.  In Illinois, aggravated battery with a firearm carries a minimum sentence of 6 years, and a maximum penalty of 30 to 60 years.

While probation is allowed for second-degree murder, it is not allowed for the Class X felony of aggravated battery using a firearm.

Van Dyke took the witness stand on Tuesday, and on cross-examination was asked about a statement he made to his partner as they approached the shooting scene: “Oh my God, we’re going to have to shoot the guy.”

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

After the verdict, a woman juror said a changing point for many of the jurors was when it was revealed that Van Dyke said to his partner that they might have to shoot McDonald, even before they got out of their police vehicle.

During closing arguments, prosecutors told the jury, “We know the defendant contemplated the decision to shoot Laquan before he even got out of his vehicle. … And he never adjusted that mindset.”

Van Dyke’s defense attorney, Daniel Herbert, sought to have the jury discount the video of the shooting.  It was that video, obtained by independent journalists that contradicted written reports resulting in the charge and arrest of Van Dyke, along with the firing of the Superintendent of Police and the Cook County State’s Attorney losing re-election.

Originally charged with first-degree murder, the jury was given an instruction that they could find guilt for second-degree murder. And, they did.   The jury consisted of eight women and four men.  Seven are White, one Black, three Latinxs, and one Asian.  They began deliberations yesterday afternoon.

Jason Van Dyke, led out of the courtroom after the reading of the verdict and his bond being revoked.

 

Van Dyke’s bond was revoked and he was led out of the courtroom in handcuffs.  His sentencing is scheduled for October 31, 2018.

 

 

The Chicago Sun-Times reports interviewing jurors after the verdict.

“Jurors repeatedly described feeling that Van Dyke’s testimony as “rehearsed.”

There appears to have been some initial disagreement between jurors on whether to convict on first-degree and second-degree murder, but jurors resolved it Friday morning, the woman said.”

 

The several jurors who gave media an interview did not give their names.  One said that acquittal was never on the table but the main debate was whether to convict on first or second degree murder.

 

Posted on 10/05/2018, in Cases, Laquan McDonald and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Liked by 1 person

  2. chuquestaquenumber1

    A just verdict. Now if Derrick Stafford can get 55yrs for a manslaughter killing of Jeremy Mardis Jason Van Dyke deserves that and more.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Chuquest,
      I think the assault using a firearm counts are going to end up more than the second-degree murder sentence. They are not generally ordered to be served together, and there is no probation. With 16 counts, even if he is sentenced to the middle ground of 30 years each, that’s a total of 480 years.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Chuquest,
      By the way, please check your email.

      Like

    • Good point! That case angered me and it only proved me right how Black cops never get away with the things most White cops do. How come the mainstream media didn’t mention Jeremy’s father’s criminal record or that his car ran into Stafford’s police cruiser? Oh wait…it’s complexion for the protection.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I sincerely hope that ‘Not guilty of official misconduct’ doesn’t mean that he acted within the policy of the police department. II’d hate to think that he retains his police pension rights. How this wasn’t judged to be first degree murder I’ll never know but I hope he is still given the longest sentence possible, not that it will ever pay for the life he took.

    Liked by 3 people

    • David,
      Official misconduct in Illinois is somewhat of a confusing statute. In pertinent part, it says;
      “(720 ILCS 5/33-3) (from Ch. 38, par. 33-3)
      Sec. 33-3. Official misconduct.
      (a) A public officer or employee or special government agent commits misconduct when, in his official capacity or capacity as a special government agent, he or she commits any of the following acts:
      (1) Intentionally or recklessly fails to perform any
      mandatory duty as required by law; or
      (2) Knowingly performs an act which he knows he is
      forbidden by law to perform; or
      (3) With intent to obtain a personal advantage for
      himself or another, he performs an act in excess of his lawful authority; or
      (4) Solicits or knowingly accepts for the performance
      of any act a fee or reward which he knows is not authorized by law.

      The jury didn’t find that Van Dyke failed to perform a mandatory duty as required by law. For example, he was not the first officer to respond required to call for backup. He was not forbidden to shoot to kill an armed suspect. The suspect walking away from him, placing no one in harm, is what got him convicted for second-degree murder, but Van Dyke was not forbidden from shooting. It wasn’t for his personal advantage or for payment.

      Now, the other section, which I didn’t copy because of its length, applies to obstruction. Although Van Dyke’s story was filled with holes, it was up to investigators to confirm or disapprove his story. The reason I think the jury did not find guilt for this is because the Police Superintendent and State’s Attorney would not release the dash cam video. It took independent journalists going to the court to get it released. In other words, it was Van Dyke trying to prevent his arrest but rather others. Van Dyke is still under Administrative Disciplinary charges along with other officers who were present that night.

      Liked by 1 person

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