Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald. In 2014, the officer shot the 17-year-old 16 times and claimed he feared for his life.
As ABC Chicago reports, Van Dyke was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, which carries a sentence of six to 30 years in prison. Second-degree murder sentences can range from probation to 20 years.
Van Dyke was originally charged with first-degree murder, but the jury was able to consider second-degree murder, which Judge Gaughan explained as first-degree murder with a mitigating factor.
Denied bail by Judge Gaughan, Van Dyke will have to be turned into custody immediately, pending sentencing.
“He now stands before this court a convicted felon,” said Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon, confirming the officer faced a minimum of six years in prison.
According to the Chicago Tribune, demonstrators erupted into cheers after the guilty verdict was read.
“Thank you, Jesus!” exclaimed one female demonstrator outside of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.
As The New York Times reported, this marks the first time a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder in nearly 50 years.
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