Police officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with First Degree Murder. He was arrested thirteen months after committing the crime, even though a video of him shooting and killing 17 year old Laquan Macdonald was released not that long after his first appearance in court.
Van Dyke’s case led to numerous protests in Chicago. The case is a hot button issue, due to numerous cases of police related violence this year.
The video that was released shows the victim running down the street, only to run into police cars with sirens. He tried to run again, but was shot 16 times in 15 seconds.
Van Dyke’s lawyer has tried to suggest that the video is one sided and doesn’t tell the full story. While he admits that the video is hard to watch, he says that Van Dyke was scared that Macdonald would harm him or the other police officers.
Other people have contradicted the lawyer’s claims. Macdonald was standing at least 10 feet away from the other officers when he was shot. Additionally, Van Dyke is the only one who fired shots.
Protesters reportedly got into a circle and started to chant the names of other people who were killed by the police in Chicago.
Five people were arrested during the protest, and four police officers were injured.
Chicago is one of the most violent cities in the world, and is known as the “Murder Capital” of the United States.
This is the latest in a series of protests regarding African Americans being targeted by police. The group Black Lives Matter was established in 2012 to bring awareness to racists incidents in the United States.
Jason Van Dyke had 18 complaints against him prior to this incident, but was never punished for it. These complaints include racial verbal abuse, complaints about his arrest and lock up procedures, as well as other complaints about violations.
Statistics show that African Americans made up 31% of victims that were killed by the police in 2012, even though they only represented 13% of the population.
Statistics from this year report that, out of the 776 deaths caused by police this year, 161 of the victims were unarmed.
Another study shows that racial minorities represent 62.7% of unarmed people that have been murdered by the police
One of the reasons that many police officers face no punishment for killing someone is that they are legally allowed to shoot someone that they think is dangerous, whether or not they actually faced a threat.
Police officers are allowed to shoot to protect their lives and if someone is escaping and they believe that person poses a threat.
The reason for these laws is that it is believed that police officers should be able to make decisions on the spot to determine if someone is dangerous. Many people have criticized this due to the amount of innocent people that are killed every year. They also say that most of these attacks or killings are things that could be easily prevented.
Many police officers get off the hook due to eyewitnesses that are not seen as trustworthy, or to police officers being reluctant to arrest someone from the same department as them.
Only 33% of police charged with a crime are convicted, and only 36% go to prison.