Oct 5, 2018

Officer in Laquan McDonald shooting found guilty of murder

Jason Van Dyke

Jason Van Dyke. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke has been found guilty of second degree murder in the shooting of Chicago teenager Laquan McDonald.

Why it matters: McDonald's shooting in 2014 was highlighted as part of a trend of fatal police shootings of black men that sparked waves of protests throughout the country and also prompted an investigation from the Department of Justice, as well as new department initiatives.

The Details: The prosecution argued that Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times was "completely unnecessary" and focused on the shots that hit McDonald as he laid on the ground.

Van Dyke testified that he and McDonald never lost eye contact and waved his knife at him and said he feared officers on the scene were under attack.

The backdrop: McDonald was shot 16 times by Van Dyke just seconds after he arrived on the scene after hearing dispatch reports of someone breaking into vehicles of in a trucking yard. Dashcam footage showed McDonald moving away from officers, contradicting Van Dyke's testimony.

What's next: A second degree murder conviction brings a sentence ranging from probation to 20 years in prison. However, Van Dyke was also found guilty on 16 counts of aggravated battery, which each carry a sentence ranging between six to 30 years in prison.

Go deeper