Jason Van Dyke, a 40-year-old policeman, was tried for firing sixteen times, and “totally useless” on Laquan McDonald in October 2014. The broadcast of a video showing the teenager’s death sparked protests. in Chicago.
A Chicago white policeman was convicted on Friday of the murder of a black teenager, whom he shot “16 times” in “totally useless” way in October 2014. Jason Van Dyke, who was appearing for murder, was accused of shooting at a distance and without reason Laquan McDonald, 17, while he was holding a knife. The man, now 40, pleaded not guilty.
The twelve jurors delivered their verdict the day after the beginning of their deliberations, convicting him of murder instead of murder. They also decided that he was guilty of 16 other charges for aggravated use of a firearm, but acquitted him of malpractice. His sentence will be known later.
The very late release in 2015 of a video showing the teenager’s death had exacerbated the public’s anger, sparking months of protests in the third largest city in the United States. The video footage, shot from a camera mounted on the dashboard of a police car, shows Jason Van Dyke shooting the teenager, who is several meters away, and continuing to empty his charger even once the young man on the ground. None of the nine other officers present had used his weapon.
Recurring police abuse
During his trial, which lasted ten days, the former policeman said he fired because the teenager seemed threatening. His lawyers have tried to counter the disastrous effect of the film sequence, calling to consider the “context”. The video of the blunder resulted in the dismissal of the then Chicago Police Chief. The Department of Justice also launched a federal investigation into the Chicago Police Department (CPD) in December 2015. It concluded that police abuses were recurring in Chicago, a city plagued by crime.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a close friend of former President Barack Obama, has found himself in trouble. He announced at the beginning of September to renounce to wait for a third term, his popularity stopping on this endemic violence, linked to gang wars and to the traffic of drugs. Laquan McDonald’s homicide is one of a series of police blunders in recent years against blacks in the United States, giving birth to the Black Lives Matter movement.