Officer Jason Van Dyke Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder in Laquan McDonald Shooting

Jack Phillips
By Jack Phillips
October 5, 2018US News

Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and guilty of aggravated battery charges in the killing of Laquan McDonald, 17, in 2014, in an incident that triggered a number of protests in the city.

He was found not guilty of official misconduct, according to a live stream of the trial.

Van Dyke, who is white, had faced two counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery, and one count of official misconduct in the shooting of McDonald, who is black.

Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer charged with first-degree murder since 1980.

Video footage of the shooting was released in November 2015, showing McDonald walking away from the police when he was shot. Police said he was holding a knife.

A toxicology report of McDonald revealed that he had PCP in his urine and blood at the time of the altercation and subsequent shooting. PCP, known as Phencyclidine, is a dissociative hallucinogenic drug known to trigger outbursts of violence in users.  It has street names like Angel Dust, Sherm, embalming fluid, and wet.

James Thomas O’Donnell, a pharmacologist who testified in the trial, said that someone with as much of PCP in his system as McDonald had in his bloodstream could have a “feeling of omnipotence,” according to The Associated Press. He said the person could feel like having “superhuman powers,” adding that it could put a person at risk of harming others around him.

AP’s report noted that witnesses testified McDonald refused to put down the knife as police had ordered. They said that he stabbed the tire of a police vehicle before the shooting.

O’Donnell said that such “violent rage behavior” could be explained by the PCP in his system.

But O’Donnell said that he had no information on whether Van Dyke knew if McDonald was high on PCP when he was shot.

Daniel Herbert, Van Dyke’s defense attorney, told the jury that the shooting was a “tragedy but not a murder,” USA Today reported.

“Laquan McDonald was the author, choreographer of this story,” Herbert added.

From The Epoch Times

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