Chicago police, activists and businesses prepare for verdict in officer's trial in Laquan McDonald killing

Nearly four years after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old...

Posted: Oct 5, 2018 6:12 AM
Updated: Oct 5, 2018 6:12 AM

Nearly four years after the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Chicago is bracing for the verdict in the high-profile murder trial of police Officer Jason Van Dyke.

The white officer faces two counts of first-degree murder, 16 counts of aggravated battery and one count of official misconduct for shooting and killing the black teenager. Van Dyke faces up to life in prison if convicted.

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The panel of eight women and four men -- seven of them white, one black, three Hispanic and one Asian -- began deliberating Thursday afternoon. They ended their first day of deliberations before 6 p.m. and will be sequestered for the duration of deliberations.

Video of the shooting released under a court order sparked protests in 2015, a Justice Department civil rights investigation, criticism of the city's mayor and eventually the ouster of the police superintendent.

"For months, our plans around the trial verdict of Officer Jason Van Dyke have centered around community dialogue and partnership," Chicago police said.

"The Chicago Police Department has a comprehensive operating plan to ensure public safety in all of our neighborhoods while simultaneously protecting the rights of peaceful demonstrations."

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

The Rev. Michael Pfleger, an activist priest and critic of the police department, took to social media Thursday to call for peaceful citywide demonstrations in the event of an acquittal.

"If Van Dyke is not convicted we are calling for a Peaceful Non-Violent SHUT DOWN of the City," Pfleger said via Twitter. "Don't go to work, school or spend any money shopping."

State Sen. Elgie R. Sims Jr. echoed the McDonald family in "asking for peace and constructive responses no matter what the verdict is."

"Violence in and the destruction of our communities will not take away any pain felt as the city of Chicago and our entire nation grapple with issues of race, violence and the strained relationship between many communities and law enforcement," he said in a statement.

"No matter the outcome, it is understandable to be angry and upset, because another young life has been lost, but I urge all to channel any negative feelings into work that produces positive change."

In the months before the trial, community leader William Calloway and other activists held meetings to discuss the reaction to both an acquittal and conviction and hopefully prevent unrest.

Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson has placed officers on 12-hour shifts to "ensure a maximum level of coverage for closing arguments," the department statement said.

The Building Owners and Managers Association of Chicago recently alerted the hundreds of commercial office, institutional and public buildings as well as companies it represents that it was "reasonable to expect that the verdict may prompt additional protest activity."

The association said it would closely monitor the city's Emergency Operations Center, which is to activate when jury deliberations begin.

"It is important that buildings have a preparedness and response plan in place prior to the announcement of the jury's verdict," the statement said.

The public will likely have a two-hour notice before the verdict is announced in court, the association said.

"While most protesters simply want their message heard in a peaceful manner, experience in other cities has shown that protests can be infiltrated by instigators who deliberately want to ignite a confrontation, violence and property destruction," the association said. "Instigators then leave, while others who may have come peacefully get caught up in the violence."

The Magnificent Mile Association, a nonprofit that includes real estate properties, retail shops, hotels and restaurants, said it had distributed a security preparedness bulletin from police to businesses in the city's so-called Magnificent Mile.

"We have outlined and distributed best practices for how and when to alert authorities, and established a communications system for members to stay in touch with one another and share safety and security updates," the group said in a statement.

In December 2015, demonstrators shut down the popular destination over the McDonald shooting investigation, disrupting last-minute holiday shopping and demanding the resignations of the mayor and prosecutor.

"Given the nature of mass gatherings, predicting who will attend and what their motivations will be is difficult and unreliable," the police bulletin said of expected demonstrations.

"It is possible that individuals unassociated with the group will imbed themselves to exploit the group's emotions and/or to incite and/or conduct acts of violence."

The bulletin urged businesses to use closed-circuit TV systems "in the event of criminal behavior" and to secure items such as chairs, tables and garbage containers that could be used to damage property.

Deliberations could continue into the weekend when the city will host Sunday's Bank of America Chicago Marathon. The annual race bring nearly 2 million spectators and 40,000 runners to streets across 29 neighborhoods.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
Pearl River5357154
Oktibbeha503198
Bolivar5004134
Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
Tishomingo240770
Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
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