Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer in half a century to be found guilty of murder for an on-duty shooting. He faces a minimum of 6 years in prison when he’s sentenced by Judge Vincent Gaughan.
The jury deliberated for about 7 ½ hours before finding Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder instead of the first-degree charges for which he was indicted.
The veteran officer was also convicted of all 16 counts of aggravated battery for each shot he fired at McDonald. The jury, however, acquitted him of a single count of official misconduct.
The verdict comes after a landmark trial that featured testimony over 10 days by 44 witnesses, 24 called by the prosecution and 20 by the defense.
The three-week trial flipped the script of most murder cases at the Leighton Criminal Court Building with prosecutors questioning the credibility of police officers who typically serve as their most trusted witnesses.
Van Dyke himself broke from normal protocol for police officers facing charges of wrongdoing, opting to have a jury decide his fate instead of asking the judge to weigh the evidence in a bench trial. His decision to testify in his own defense was also rare for a building where most criminal defendants — especially those charged with murder — invoke their right to remain silent.
The charges against Van Dyke centered on the dashcam video depicting the moments leading up to the shooting on Oct. 20, 2014 — footage that has been played around the world for nearly three years. The graphic images sparked protests and political upheaval and led to a sprawling federal civil rights probe into the systemic mistreatment of citizens by Chicago police, particularly in the city's minority communities.
It's a start. Nothing will truly qualify as justice here, but it's a start.
Black Lives Still Matter.