Tag: Laquan McDonald

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

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 Native and NBA Star Dwyane Wade Pays Tribute to Laquan McDonald on His Kicks

Dwyane Wade (l) and Laquan McDonald (r) [photo via bet.com]

Dwyane Wade created a memorial for Laquan McDonald the one place he knew everyone would look. The Miami Heat player etched the slain Chicago teen’s name into his game day sneakers, along with the hashtags “#Chicago” and “#Justice.”

It was a simple yet powerful way to honor the 17-year-old, who was shot 16 times by Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke in October 2014. Van Dyke was charged with first degree murder last week after dash-cam footage revealed the grisly details behind McDonald’s death.

While many have taken to the streets to protest, Wade — a Chicago native — recognized that his feet gain special attention during games and would make a fitting place for a tribute.

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#laquanmcdonald #chicago #justice

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article by Evelyn Diaz via bet.com

Laquan McDonald Video Inspires Viral Conservative Teen Vlogger CJ Pearson to leave GOP

CJ Pearson
Formerly conservative vlogger CJ Pearson (photo via thegriocomP

A 13-year old YouTuber who went viral due to his conservative videos criticizing President Obama is now admitting that his conscience is making him leave the Republican party.

When the president invited Ahmed Mohamed to visit the White House after he was detained for bringing a homemade clock to school, CJ Pearson posted a video asking, “When cops are gunned down, you don’t invite them to the White House. You never did. But when a Muslim kid builds a clock, come on by. What is this world you’re living in?”

However, now the former chairman of the Teens for Ted Cruz youth group is having a serious change of heart about his political allegiances.  Friday, Pearson told CNN that he could no longer be a “champion of a party that turned a blind eye to racial discrimination.”

“I don’t want to be the conservative wonder kid that people follow because I make them feel good,” he explained. “I want to be followed because I’m the voice of a generation that doesn’t have a voice at the table.”

The turning point came for him came after video was released of Laquan McDonald being shot to death by police.  “My views on the issues aren’t going to be dictated by one political platform or another,” Pearson clarifies.  “There is not a liberal America and a conservative America. There is the United States of America.”

Pearson’s YouTube channel is viewed by more than 5 million and he has more than 100,000 Facebook followers.

article by Blue Telusma via thegrio.com

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”