Van Dyke convicted of second degree murder in LaQuan McDonald case

Organizations and community reacts to verdict

CHICAGO — A jury of eight women and four men on Friday convicted Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke of one count of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery, one count for each shot.

The verdict brings to an end four years of political conflict in Chicago, ever since LaQuan McDonald was shot by Van Dyke and the dashcam video of the incident was released.

The Chicago Sun-Times said car horns and whoops could be heard outside the courthouse after the verdict was announced to the tense city. The newspaper reported that the jury had deliberated for seven hours after three weeks of hearing testimony and repeated viewings of the video drove protests for the past four years. Van Dyke’s bond was revoked and he was taken directly into custody.

Many downtown offices sent workers home early in advance of the verdict and police deployed themselves in staging areas.

Organizations were quick to respond to the verdict.

ACLU of Illinois:

“Jason Van Dyke has been held accountable by a jury for shooting Laquan McDonald 16 times and unnecessarily killing him. Laquan McDonald should still be alive today. We continue to grieve for the McDonald family and broader community, which lost this young man too soon. We also remember the many families who have lost loved ones to excessive force by police officers who have not yet received justice. This burden falls disproportionately across the City—96% of people shot by the Chicago police are Black or Latinx.

“No one believes that the conviction of this individual officer repairs the problems in policing – not in Chicago nor in our country. While Mr. Van Dyke will face accountability for his actions, it is critical that the rest of us do not yet look away from the Chicago Police Department. In the aftermath of this verdict, no community should suffer abuse or neglect.”

AIDS Foundation of Chicago:

“AFC stands in solidarity with the community’s demand for police accountability and an end to state sanctioned violence on Black lives in this country. Van Dyke’s shooting and killing of Laquan as he walked away was captured on police dashcam video—sparking protests, civil rights investigations, and a conversation on systematic police violence. We are heartened by the murder charges that were brought and secured by Cook County prosecutors against officer Van Dyke for the murder of Laquan McDonald. However, the facts revealed during the trial were not only deeply disturbing but further highlight Chicago’s need for significant reforms to enhance police accountability and officer training to end state sanctioned violence. AFC looks forward to working with our community, policy makers and other key stakeholders to advance this goal.”

Update: NBC Chicago reported that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson released joint statement after the verdict:

“Today, the jury reached its verdict. As we absorb their decision, let us continue to hear each other and partner with each other – as public servants, police and members of the public – and let us ensure our collective mission is what endures for generations to come. We come from many neighborhoods, many walks of life and many places throughout the world. But for all of us, this is our home. This is the city we love. We have heard that message countless times in recent days and weeks in church basements, in community meetings and from residents in our neighborhoods. And while the jury has heard the case and reached their conclusion, our collective work is not done. The effort to drive lasting reform and rebuild bonds of trust between residents and police must carry on with vigor.”

Update: Illinois Frternal Order of Police State Lodge President Chris Southwood statement about Van Dyke verdict:

We’ll add other reactions as they become available.

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