A white Chicago police officer, Jason Van Dyke, was found guilty of murder Friday for fatally shooting a black teen, in a killing that triggered months of protests in America’s third largest city.
Van Dyke pumped 16 bullets into 17-year-old Laquan McDonald during the 2014 confrontation that was captured on police video which showed the knife-wielding teen appearing to walk away from officers when he was fatally shot.
The 12-person jury reached a verdict just one day after beginning deliberations, choosing to convict Van Dyke of a lesser second-degree charge, instead of first-degree murder.
He was also found guilty of 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm — for each bullet he fired — and acquitted of one count of official misconduct.
A crowd outside the court house celebrated as the verdict was read and began chanting: “Justice for Laquan!”
“This is historic for Chicago,” community organizer Janette Wilson told reporters.
“I would hope that the people of Chicago will really look at this case as a model for the nation.”
Under Illinois state law, a second-degree murder conviction carries a sentence of four to 20 years in prison while aggravated battery with a firearm means six to 30 years.
The politically-charged case hinged on the police dash-cam video footage in which the officer was seen continuing to fire after the teen fell to the ground and lay motionless.
There were months of protests and calls for resignations following the dash-cam video’s release to the public, more than a year after the shooting and only after a judge compelled city officials to do so.
There were also allegations of an attempted cover up, as Van Dyke wasn’t criminally charged until the day of the video’s release.
The shooting has become emblematic of decades of police abuse in the Midwestern city — often targeted at Chicago’s African-American population.
The city of Chicago had earlier reached a $5 million civil settlement with McDonald’s family.