08 October, 2018
Van Dyke was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery, one for each bullet he fired. He was charged with first-degree murder, but the jury had the option to determine that there were mitigating factors to classify the shooting as a second-degree murder instead.
One current and two former Chicago police officers were charged last June with state felony counts of conspiracy, obstruction of justice and official misconduct for allegedly helping to cover up for Van Dyke.
The jury found Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder, making him the first Chicago police officer to be found guilty of murder while on duty in nearly 50 years. Van Dyke approached the teenager who was carrying a knife but walking away from surrounding officers.
The city has been preparing or possible demonstrations in a high-profile case that already sparked protests.
Mr Van Dyke pleaded not guilty, with his defence arguing that had the teenager dropped his weapon, the officer would not have opened fire. "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".
When he took the stand, he told the jury the teenager had been "advancing" on him with the knife, with "no expression" on his face and eyes "bugging out of his head".
Van Dyke's lawyer, Dan Herbert, compared the scene that night to a monster movie, telling jurors that McDonald had attacked a truck driver and slashed a police vehicle's tires just before he was shot. McDonald is seen still clutching the knife while on the ground, but his lack of movement in the footage questions Van Dyke's claim that he tried to get back up.
"I am excited", said Wilson, who is African-American and was born and raised in Chicago.
Three other officers, including detective David March, and officers Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney, were charged for allegedly covering up evidence in the shooting.
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"It wasn't the knife in Laquan's hand that made the defendant kill him that night".
A judge ordered police to release the dashcam footage in November 2015 after Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel's administration fought to withhold the video for a year.
Van Dyke was a late arrival to the confrontation.
Local schools have sent out advisories to parents this week notifying them of potential "civil unrest" relating to the verdict, according to local media. CPS announced that it wouldn't punish students for participating in walkouts or protests, as long as they don't exceed 30 minutes.
"This case has been about exaggerating the threat and trying to hide behind the police shield", prosecutor Jody Gleason said in her closing statement.
The aftermath rallied the city's politics and led to significant changes within the police department.
"The people's cup has run over with these police violations of people's rights", he said.
The Chicago Police Department had also begun making plans to react quickly if riots broke out upon a not guilty verdict.