Jury convicts white Chicago police officer of 2nd-degree murder in 2014 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Laquan McDonald

jason van dyke chicagoChicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke walks toward the front of Judge Vincent Gaughan bench during jury deliberations in his murder trial at the Leighton Criminal Court Building Friday, Oct. 5, 2018 in Chicago.Chicago Tribune/Antonio Perez via Associated Press

  • A jury has convicted a white Chicago police officer of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald.
  • Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 shots into 17-year-old McDonald's back in October 2014, as he was walking away from officers.
  • Friday's conviction was the first time in half a century that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder for an on-duty death.

A jury has convicted white Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke was charged with first degree-murder in the October 2014 killing, a charge that requires a finding that the shooting was unnecessary and unreasonable. The judge told jurors the second-degree charge was also available, requiring them to find Van Dyke believed his life was in danger but that the belief was unreasonable.

The jury announced the verdict Friday. It's the first time in half a century that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder for an on-duty death.

McDonald was carrying a knife when Van Dyke fired 16 shots into the 17-year-old as he walked away from police.

Though Van Dyke had originally claimed that McDonald "lunged" at him, prompting him to fire one shot into his chest, video footage of the incident shows that McDonald was walking away, and was actually shot 16 times - some of which occurred after McDonald had already hit the ground.

Second-degree murder usually carries a sentence of less than 20 years.

Van Dyke's case has roiled Chicago over the last several years, amid an ongoing national debate over deadly use of force by officers and biased policing.

After the verdict was read on Friday, demonstrators cheered outside the courthouse, chanting "Justice for Laquan," according to The Chicago Tribune.

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