Tag: Chicago Police Department

Chicago Police Officer Convicted of Second-Degree Murder in Shooting of Laquan McDonald

(photo via aljazeera.com)

by Jaweed Kaleem via latimes.com

A jury has found white Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder in the 2014 high-profile shooting death of a black 17-year-old, Laquan McDonald. He was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery.

The verdict marks the first time in five decades that a Chicago police officer has been found guilty of murder in a shooting.

The shooting led to widespread protests and political upheaval in the city, as many residents viewed it as a clear case of police abuse. Dashboard camera video, which a court forced the city to release in 2015, showed that McDonald was shot as he was walking away from Van Dyke and continued to be hit by bullets as he writhed on the ground. In all, Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times in less than 15 seconds.

The murder verdict, announced in a courtroom three miles from the site of the shooting, means Van Dyke will face between four and 20 years in prison. He could face additional time for aggravated battery.

The killing happened on Oct. 20, 2014, after police received reports that somebody was breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard. Officers began following McDonald, who had a 3-inch folding knife.

They radioed a request for an officer with a Taser, but Van Dyke fired before that officer arrived. Van Dyke was charged with murder, aggravated battery and official misconduct.

During the trial, prosecutors argued that Van Dyke intended to kill the teen even though he was not a threat to Van Dyke’s life or that of other officers. Van Dyke and his lawyers argued the opposite: that McDonald seemed dangerous and had waved his knife at the officer even after falling to the ground.

Illinois law authorizes an officer to use deadly force when it’s “necessary to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or such other person” or “necessary to prevent the arrest from being defeated by resistance or escape.”

The 12-member jury, which civil rights groups criticized for including only one black juror even though African Americans make up 31% of the city’s population, began deliberations on Thursday after three weeks of proceedings that included more than 40 witnesses.

Over the years, the case led to the resignations of a county prosecutor and the police superintendent as well as criticism of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, who said last month that he would not run for reelection.

The killing also led to an investigation of Chicago policing by the Department of Justice, which was released last year and found that officers routinely violated the civil rights of minorities and treated them as “animals or subhuman.”

Last year, two former and one current officer were charged in conspiring to cover up for Van Dyke after the shooting. Those officers will go to trial later in the year.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-jason-van-dyke-verdict-2018-story.html

‘Englewood Four’ to Receive $31 Million in Settlement of Chicago Wrongful Conviction Case

Harold Richardson, from left, Vincent Thames, Terrill Swift and Michael Saunders were convicted of a 1994 rape and murder but later were cleared. (Terrence Antonio James/Chicago Tribune)

by Fran Spielman via chicagosuntimes.com

Four Englewood teenagers coerced into confessing to a rape and murder they did not commit before being exonerated by DNA evidence will divide a $31 million settlement from Chicago taxpayers, one of the largest in the city’s history.

Michael Saunders, Vincent Thames, Harold Richardson and Terrill Swift were between 15 and 18 when they were arrested for the November 1994 murder of Nina Glover. An autopsy concluded that the 30-year-old prostitute had been strangled. Her naked body was discovered behind a liquor store at 1400 W. Garfield wrapped in a bloody sheet and stuffed in a dumpster.

In 2011, a judge overturned the conviction of the “Englewood Four,” freeing Richardson and Saunders after they spent 17 years behind bars. Swift and Thames, who served more than a dozen years, had already been released.

“These were four young men who no way possible they could have committed the crime they were manipulated and coerced into confessing to. They all spent . . . over a decade in prison for something they didn’t do. The number is very large and the magnitude of the injury is very large,” said attorney Locke Bowman, who represented Swift.

Bowman said the $31 million settlement would not have been possible if former assistant state’s attorney Terence Johnson hadn’t “broken ranks from the other law enforcement personnel” and provided a statement to the FBI that confirmed what the Englewood Four had long maintained.

“This was psychological coercion primarily in all four of the cases. They were tricked and coerced into confessing . . . They were fed the information. And they were the victims of police overreaching,” Bowman said Friday.

Continue reading “‘Englewood Four’ to Receive $31 Million in Settlement of Chicago Wrongful Conviction Case”

Chicago Police Escort Girls Without Fathers to ‘Daddy Daughter Dance’

Ci_XnJnWYAE-SAE

article via clutchmagonline.com

The second annual “Daddy Daughter Dance” was held in Chicago over the weekend, and the event sponsored by the Chicago Police Department proved to be a success.

The event, which was held at the South Shore Cultural Center, matched up Chicago police officers with girls who don’t have fathers in their lives. Also in attendance were officers and their own daughters.

“After last year’s event, we had several officers and the young ladies that they escorted, they kept up with one another and it really bridged a gap,” said Sgt. Kimberly Woods. “It let the girls know that officers are just people too and we dance, and we dance funny like your dads do.”

The Chicago Police Department and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives planned the dance to encourage healthy relationships between daughters and their fathers.

Chicago Mayor to Release Footage of Ronald Johnson Police Shooting

Ronald Johnson's mother Dorothy Holmes fights to have police video of her son's shooting released. (photo via CNN.com)
Ronald Johnson’s mother Dorothy Holmes fights to have police video of her son’s shooting released. (photo via CNN.com)

A year after backlash from the family and supporters of Ronald Johnson III, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced dash cam footage of the Chicago man’s fatal encounter with police in 2014 will be released next week.

Johnson, 25, was fatally shot by Officer George Hernandez eight days before the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The Chicago Tribune reports:

On the night he was killed, Johnson was in a car with friends when the vehicle’s back window was shot out by an unidentified gunman. Chicago police have said that Johnson, a known gang member, resisted arrest when officers responded to the call of shots fired and then ran.

During the chase, Hernandez, at the time a tactical officer in the Wentworth Police District, pulled up in an unmarked squad car and jumped out with his gun drawn, Oppenheimer said. The video, which Oppenheimer said he has seen many times, shows that within two seconds of getting out of his car, Hernandez fired five times at Johnson as he was still running away, striking him in the back of the knee and again in the back of the shoulder.

Autopsy results obtained by the Tribune show the fatal shot traveled through Johnson’s shoulder, severed his jugular vein and exited his eye socket.

Continue reading “Chicago Mayor to Release Footage of Ronald Johnson Police Shooting”

Chicago Protesters Shut Down Michigan Ave. on Black Friday to Protest Shooting Death of #LaquanMcDonald

ChicagoProtest
Chicago Protest on Black Friday in honor of Laquan McDonald (Photo: Kelly Hayes via Twitter)

Thousands of protesters braved rain and chilly temperatures to flood Chicago’s high-end shopping district Friday to demand justice in the wake of the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald

Tuesday, the city released the heartbreaking video of McDonald’s shooting and announced former Chicago PD officer Jason Van Dyke would be charged with first-degree murder. The timing of the announcement angered many who wondered why it took more than a year to charge Van Dyke given video evidence that he shoot the teen 16 times, 14 of which came while McDonald lay on the ground.

Today, thousands of protesters took to Michigan Avenue, one of Chicago’s premier shopping districts, to demand the mayor, police commissioner, and state’s attorney resign. Continue reading “Chicago Protesters Shut Down Michigan Ave. on Black Friday to Protest Shooting Death of #LaquanMcDonald”