Officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with second-degree murder.
The city of Chicago just let out a deep sigh of relief. Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was accused of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, had his verdict read this afternoon. Van Dyke stood to do up to life in prison if found guilty of the various charges, including two counts of first-degree murder; he'd also been charged with one count of official misconduct, and sixteen counts of aggravated battery.
The jury's decision came at approximately 2:45 PM EST today, finding Van Dyke guilty of second-degree murder and sixteen counts of aggravated battery. The city had expected protests to ensue should the verdict clear Van Dyke's name, though it looks like they'll only have to contend with celebrations now. The trial had already been a source of outrage, causing several demonstrations. The jury that reached Van Dyke's verdict was composed of eight women and four men, with seven of them being white, three Hispanic, one Asian, and one Black.
This decision comes on the heels of other high-profile examinations into the conduct of police officers. This past March it was revealed that the Baton Rouge officers responsible for killing Alton Sterling will not have charges brought against them. It would appear that Van Dyke's sentencing is a change in the narrative, that hopefully leads to more accountability in the nation's police departments.