Police shooting verdict will be appealed, Chicago FOP president says
Today's conviction of a Chicago police officer in the 2014 shooting death of a teenager will be appealed, Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham said during multiple comments earlier today.
Graham, quoted in the Chicago Tribune, referred to this week's jury verdict as "unfortunate" and said the defense change of venue request on behalf of Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke should have been granted.
"There will be an appeal," Graham said in the Tribune article. "Mark my words, there will be an appeal. We do think Jason has a tough road to go but he is not standing alone."
Graham's comments followed Van Dyke's conviction of second-degree murder in the October 2014 shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. Police dash-cam video of McDonald's shooting was released following a court order about three years ago.
Van Dyke was found guilty Friday by a jury of eight women and four men - seven white, one black, three Hispanic and one Asian. He was found guilty of second degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. Van Dyke was led from the courtroom in handcuffs after his bond was revoked.
His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 31.
With his conviction, Van Dyke became the first Chicago police officer in about 50 years to be found guilty of murder in an on-duty shooting.
In separate comments, Graham said during a press conference that many people misunderstand the job that police do. "They try to provide the best protection they can for people in the city of Chicago, and they do it putting their own lives in peril every single day and night," Graham said.
The jury's verdict will have a negative impact on how Chicago police do their job, Graham said.
"I think this is sending the message, at least in this court case, that they are not supporting law enforcement and the difficult job that they do," Graham said. "It is certainly not clear to me that they have understood that a police officer has to make a split-second decision."
Graham also said that surgeons "make far more mistakes than police officers," but "they certainly are not put in prison."