Category Archives: Laquan McDonald

Updates on Trials and More

John Hernandez

Hello good people.  I’ve been unable to follow trials and news daily to write blog posts about them.  As it stands now, I’m unsure if and when I’ll return to writing blog posts on a regular basis.  My last chemo treatment is scheduled for February, and then I’ll be on targeted immunotherapy for a year, so we’ll see how I’ll feel come March of next year.

There is much happeningand I wanted to bullet point some things. As and if time allows, I’ll post updates in the comment section below.   Feel free to do the same.

Terry Thompson and his wife Chauna were charged with murder for the May 28, 2017, choke-hold death of John Hernandez in Crosby, Texas.  Terry was put on trial in July 2018 and the jury hung.  His retrial began in October 2018.  The jury found Terry guilty and sentenced him to 25 years.  Chauna’s trial is scheduled to begin on March 26, 2019.  For background on this case, see this link.

 

Brennan Walker

Jeffrey Zeigler, who fired a shotgun at 14-year old Brennan Walker, has been sentenced to 4 to 10 years in prison.  A jury found Zeigler guilty of assault with intent to do great bodily harm and possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony.  For background info on this case, click here.

 

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More Trials and Disciplinary Actions Pending For The Murder of Laquan McDonald

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery using a firearm in the 2014 death of Laquan McDonald.  However, Van Dyke still faces Administrative Disciplinary actions and other officers on the night that Laquan was murdered also face criminal charges or disciplinary actions.

When it is said that the verdict in the murder trial of Jason Van Dyke was a victory, it not only pertains to that verdict, but the pending criminal cases and disciplinary allegations against others who were present that night, or in charge of investigating.

Three others are facing criminal charges.

Five are facing disciplinary actions pending the completion of Van Dyke’s trial.

Three with pending administrative actions have retired.

Here is the list of what remains; Read the rest of this entry

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. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago Police Jason Van Dyke On Trial For Killing Laquan McDonald

17-year old Laquan McDonald was killed by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke on October 20, 2014.  Van Dyke was not arrested until a judge set a date for the release of dash cam video.  That was in November 2015.

Van Dyke’s murder trial began the first week of September 2018 with jury selection.  Twelve jurors and 5 alternatives have been selected.  The jury consists of one Black woman, and two Blacks as alternatives.

On Thursday, September 20, 2018, the prosecution rested its case.  Van Dyke’s defense will now be presented to the jury.

Following the trial has been difficult for me due to personal matters, but I do plan on blogging the verdict.   Meanwhile, I have copied the post originally published in November 2015 because it contains background on what happened, including that without the intervention of Brandon Smith, an independent journalist,  Van Dyke might not have been charged.


Originally published in November 2015.

It’s not what Laquan did or did not do. Rather, it is what the Chicago Police Department did after officer Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan.

Brandon Smith’s introduction on The Guardian, says that he  is a Chicago-based independent journalist who, with the help of whistleblowers and the Freedom of Information Act, has reported on civil rights abuses, privatization of public assets, digital privacy concerns and pollution of land and water.”

Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway talk to reporters Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, after a Cook County judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to release a video of an officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Nov. 25, in Chicago. The video is said to show the officer shooting McDonald 16 times in October 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

“Independent journalist.” I like that title because it reflects a form of journalism that has almost gone the way of the dinosaur. It would be correct to replace “independent” with “investigative” in this matter, because what Brandon Smith did goes beyond reporting. Without the backing of a publication to finance his endeavors, Brandon Smith did not have to proceed at his own costs. Brandon worked along with another independent journalist, Jamie Kalven, and University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman. Because they are independent journalists, they aren’t often issued press credentials to attend press conferences and such.  In fact, he was not allowed to attend the press conference that discussed the release of video that came about due to his persistence and good work.

Had they not been independent and determined, we would not have the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Without the release of the video, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke would still be on paid desk duty; and his fictionalized report of what happened would be business as usual in cover-ups. Read the rest of this entry

Chicago police superintendent fired by mayor amid outcry over video of shooting – The Washington Post

CHICAGO — The head of the Chicago Police Department has been fired amid widespread criticism over how authorities responded to the fatal shooting of a black teenager by a white police officer last year.

Hat tips to Roderick2012 and Gronda. Published by Press This

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (D) said he formally asked Garry F. McCarthy, the Chicago police superintendent, for his resignation on Tuesday morning, a week after video footage of the shooting was released and the officer was charged with murder.

“He has become an issue, rather than dealing with the issue, and a distraction,” Emanuel said. He added that while he is loyal to McCarthy, whom he praised for his leadership of the department, the needs of the city are more important.

Anger has erupted in Chicago since authorities released footage of Jason Van Dyke, a city police officer, shooting Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old, last year.[Officer Van Dyke posted bond and was released Monday]  Emanuel said he began talking to McCarthy on Sunday, after several days of heated protests, about “the undeniable fact that the public trust in the leadership of the department has been shaken and eroded.”

The end of McCarthy’s time atop the Chicago force marks a abrupt shift for a law enforcement officer who became nationally known as he worked in three of the country’s biggest police departments.  When Emanuel announced McCarthy’s appointment in May 2011, he praised him as someone who proved “reducing crime and working closely with the community are not conflicting goals. ” Read the rest of this entry

The Killing of Laquan McDonald

It’s not what Laquan did or did not do. Rather, it is what the Chicago Police Department did after officer Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan.

Brandon Smith’s introduction on The Guardian, says that he  is a Chicago-based independent journalist who, with the help of whistleblowers and the Freedom of Information Act, has reported on civil rights abuses, privatization of public assets, digital privacy concerns and pollution of land and water.”

Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway talk to reporters Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015, after a Cook County judge ordered the Chicago Police Department to release a video of an officer fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald by Nov. 25, in Chicago. The video is said to show the officer shooting McDonald 16 times in October 2014. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Journalist Brandon Smith, left, and activist William Calloway (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

“Independent journalist.” I like that title because it reflects a form of journalism that has almost gone the way of the dinosaur. It would be correct to replace “independent” with “investigative” in this matter, because what Brandon Smith did goes beyond reporting. Without the backing of a publication to finance his endeavors, Brandon Smith did not have to proceed at his own costs. Brandon worked along with another independent journalist, Jamie Kalven, and University of Chicago law professor Craig Futterman. Because they are independent journalists, they aren’t often issued press credentials to attend press conferences and such.  In fact, he was not allowed to attend the press conference that discussed the release of video that came about due to his persistence and good work.

Had they not been independent and determined, we would not have the video of the killing of Laquan McDonald. Without the release of the video, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke would still be on paid desk duty; and his fictionalized report of what happened would be business as usual in cover-ups.

Kalven filed the Freedom of Information request for the video. The City declined his request. Brandon’s battle for release of the video began in May, 2015. In an article published in The Chicago Reader on August 7, 2015, Brandon wrote:

“But I’m not taking no for an answer—particularly in light of Kalven v. Chicago, an Illinois Appellate Court decision last March that established information about police misconduct is public, except in limited circumstances that don’t apply in the case of the McDonald shooting video.”

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