A jury has found Jason Van Dyke, the white police officer charged with killing a black teenager in 2014, guilty of second-degree murder.
Van Dyke, who shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times after encountering him on the street, is the first Chicago police officer to be convicted of murder over a shooting that took place on duty in about 50 years, The New York Times reports. McDonald's death had attracted nationwide attention after dashcam video was released in 2015, as it showed that McDonald was moving away from police when he was shot and that the shots continued after he fell to the ground.
During the course of the trial, the defense argued that Van Dyke believed his life was in danger because McDonald was holding a knife, while prosecutors argued Van Dyke demonstrated an "indifference to the value of Laquan's life," CNN reports.
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Although Van Dyke had been charged with first-degree murder, he was convicted on second-degree murder, which indicates the jury believed he felt his life was in danger but concluded that this belief was not reasonable, per Time. The jury also found Van Dyke guilty on 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm but not guilty of official misconduct. He faces decades in prison.
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