Man in custody following threats tied to Van Dyke trial, police say

A Chicago jury has found police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of murder for the fatal 2014 shooting of a black teenager.

Jason Van Dyke killed 17-year-old LaQuan McDonald on the 4100 blocks of South Pulaski Road in Chicago, Illinois on October 20, 2014.

Today, the fear of what could happen if the Van Dyke verdict went the other way, and protesters-largely African-American-took to the streets in a rage caused all sorts of overreactions in Chicago.

The video showed Van Dyke's vehicle pull up as McDonald, 17, was striding down the middle of a two-way street, carrying a knife.

In closing arguments, a prosecutor said Van Dyke showed no regard for the life of the black teenager, while the defense portrayed him as a police veteran ensnared in a tragedy but not a murder.

Gaughan ordered sheriff's deputies to immediately take Van Dyke into custody pending his sentencing.

After the footage was released in November 2015, Emanuel ousted his police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, who later said he was a fall guy and is now running for mayor. Moreover, the police union released a false statement claiming that McDonald was moving in the direction of police before being shot.

For a man convicted with no previous criminal record, Mr. Greenberg said the mandatory minimum is his best guess for a sentence handed down on Van Dyke.


Though he was never disciplined, a jury did award $350,000 to a man who filed an excessive-force lawsuit against him.

One juror noted as "the turning point" testimony that Van Dyke told his partner, "Oh my God, we're going to have to shoot that guy", before arriving at the scene.

To boost their contention that McDonald was unsafe, defense attorneys built a case against the teenager, who had been a ward of the state for most of his life and wound up in juvenile detention after an arrest for marijuana possession in January 2014. An autopsy showed McDonald had a small amount of the hallucinogenic drug PCP in his system when he died.

They called multiple officers who were there that night as they sought to chip away at the "blue wall of silence" long associated with the city's police force and other law enforcement agencies across the country.

Several cases in the past few years - including the shootings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri; Eric Garner in New York; Tamir Rice in Cleveland; and Freddie Gray in Baltimore - have ended in disappointment for many in the black community, as white officers have gone unpunished in their deaths. He pleaded not guilty.

Initially, Emanuel said that the U.S. Department of Justice should not investigate the CPD. He was due to run for a third term, but announced last month that he had chose to step down. "I love Chicago, it's my city, it's my place". "Should this occur, it may create potentially risky situations around the city".

Van Dyke was the first Chicago police officer to face trial for killing someone on duty in 50 years. "Cases, such as Laquan McDonald, Mike Brown, Alton Sterling, [Sandra Bland] and Philando Castile are brutal illustrations on why we need a clear documentation of facts when citizen-encounters with police turn deadly".

Van Dyke's lead attorney Dan Herbert countered: "Race had absolutely nothing to do with this".

  • Tracy Klein