Jason Van Dyke Sentencing Hearing

Judge acquits 3 Chicago officers of cover-up in shooting death of Laquan Mc Donald	 	 	 			Laquan McDonald

A judge has found three Chicago police officers not guilty of covering up details in the 2014 killing of Laquan McDonald, a black teenager.

Police had been responding to a call that reported a man was breaking into trucks and stealing radios, yet due to the evidence from dash-cam and surveillance footage, it seemed clear that the circumstances did not call for the police to use deadly force. All three officers reported that McDonald, a teen, had lunged at Van Dyke with a knife before being fired upon.

Van Dyke, 40, was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery, one for each bullet fired at the 17-year-old McDonald.

"I will have to live with this the rest of my life. taking it to my grave", he said, adding: "I was a police officer trying to make risky decisions".

Van Dyke's attorneys painted McDonald as a unsafe teen who refused to drop a three-inch retractable knife he'd been carrying the night he was killed. McDonald later veers away from two police officers, who have their guns drawn, and within seconds he appears to spin around and fall. He later added that police officers can apparently "lie, cheat, and steal" without consequences, before concluding that this was a "sad day for America".

Prosecutors alleged the three officers falsified reports and tried to hide the events surrounding McDonald's death "to shield their fellow officer from criminal investigation".

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports the ruling deeply hurt McDonald's family, and they questioned how Van Dyke could be found guilty if the three officers acquitted today are innocent.

Prosecutors showed the video of the shooting repeatedly during Van Dyke's three-week trial.

The death of a 17-year old teenager named Laquan McDonald quickly became a linchpin to protests over Police Brutality all across the Nation.

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But, in the same document, prosecutors paved the way for Van Dyke to serve as few as 15 years behind bars by combining some of the counts into single acts.

Van Dyke showed no reaction after hearing his sentence. "This is a case about law and order (and) about Laquan McDonald not following any laws that night". He will likely go to prison for at least several years, if not decades, when he's sentenced Friday.

Activist William Calloway said he believes the verdict will only embolden officers, and he saw members of the department laughing with one another and high-fiving outside of the courtroom after the verdict was read.

"The state wants you to criminalize police reports", McKay bellowed at one point.

"The defendants allegedly lied about what occurred and mischaracterised the video recordings so that independent criminal investigators would not learn the truth about the killing and the public would not see the video recordings", they said when charges were announced in June 2017. The shooting was captured on dashcam video, which sparked nationwide calls for justice after its release in 2015.

On Monday, prosecutors filed a document that laid out the case for a wide range of punishments.

Jason Van Dyke, who was booted from the force once he was convicted, was led into court Friday in a yellow jail jumpsuit.

Stephenson made much of the fact that the infamous police dashboard camera video did not show the shooting from the vantage of Van Dyke or his partner, Walsh - a note that Van Dyke's attorneys also emphasized at his trial, though without success.

He was the first Chicago police officer to be charged with first-degree murder since 1980.

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