Friday, 19 October, 2018

Legal Analyst Irv Miller: Van Dyke Verdict Is Right

Jason Van Dyke en route to the courthouse Getty Images
Charlie Simmons | 07 October, 2018, 08:12

A Chicago jury has found ex-cop Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Laquan McDonald.

In a statement after the verdict, Johnson and Emanuel called for police, officials and residents alike to "continue to hear each other and partner with each other". They screamed with joy, jumped up and down and shouted "Yes!" and "Justice for Laquan!" as they listened to a live stream of the trial's end on a cell phone. "Justice for Laquan!" Cars honked as they passed by the courthouse and passengers cheered.

CHICAGO - Jason Van Dyke, a white Chicago police officer, was found guilty of second-degree murder on Friday, almost four years after he shot and killed Laquan McDonald, a black 17-year-old holding a knife.

Van Dyke was found not guilty on official misconduct. Jurors are permitted to consider a lesser charge of second-degree murder as an alternative. Miller said this could help Van Dyke's case for an appeal.

The deadly encounter unfolded when officers came upon McDonald, who had a knife, and called for an officer with a Taser to respond to the scene.

Some kept watching, waiting for the judge to announce that he was revoking the bond for Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer who had more than 20 misconduct complaints filed against him over his time on the force.

But O'Donnell said that he had no information on whether Van Dyke knew if McDonald was high on PCP when he was shot.

The city erupted in protest after the video became public. Some schools, for instance, took measures to close down if Van Dyke was found not guilty. Some schools made plans for early dismissals, lockdowns or recess indoors, reported the Chicago Tribune.

Ahead of the verdict, the city prepared for the possibility of the kind of massive protests that followed the release of the video in November 2015, with an extra 4,000 officers being put on the streets. "Should this occur, it may create potentially unsafe situations around the city".

Authorities in Chicago were anxious that unrest might occur if a not guilty verdict came back. But because he's an officer, it will be "hard time", possibly spent in isolation, said Steve Greenberg, who has defended clients at more than 100 murder trials. "I didn't think it was going to happen".

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The judge was angry after Jason Van Dyke showed up late to a Thursday evening hearing after jurors began deliberating.

During closing arguments, prosecutor Jody Gleason noted that Van Dyke told detectives that McDonald raised the knife and that McDonald tried to get up off the ground after being shot.

Van Dyke remains an inactive officer on unpaid leave, the department said Friday, pending the Chicago Police Board's review of the recommendation from Eddie Johnson, the police superintendent, that he be fired. "He waved the knife from his lower right side upwards across his body towards my left shoulder".

This Oct. 5, 2018 photo provided by the Cook County Sheriff's Office in Chicago, Ill., shows Jason Van Dyke.

"I thought the officers were under attack", Van Dyke said. The jurors, who did not give their names, said the veteran police officer did nothing to deescalate the situation that led up to the fatal shooting.

"It's a tragedy that could have been prevented with one simple step", he said.

"Laquan McDonald represents all of the victims that suffered what he suffered".

"The video doesn't show my perspective", he said.

Shortly after noon, word spread across the city that the racially charged trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke had almost reached its end.

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