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Chicago Police Officer Found Guilty of Second Degree Murder

VERDICTS IN THE NEWS – FRESNO INJURY LAW BLOG

Located less the two miles from Midway Airport, the Chicago Lawn neighborhood represents one of 77 community areas geographically defined within the boundaries of the third largest city in the United States. The rapidly changing neighborhood sits between two bustling thoroughfares, interstates 55 and 90. Locals refer to Chicago Lawn as “Marquette Park” in honor of the municipal park that is the cultural and natural main attraction of the community.

Racial demographic changes have dramatically altered the economic base of Chicago Lawn. During the 1960s, Martin Luther King, Jr. led a massive demonstration to promote open housing for every citizen living in the embattled community. King’s march paved the way for decades of racial unrest that boiled under the surface of a neighborhood that also faced a violent reaction to the integration of Gage Park High School. Fear of diminished housing values and the disconnection of ethnic bonds enjoyed by the Lithuanian community sowed the seeds of racial discord that boiled over on October 20, 2014.

Fresno Hate Crime Lawyers, Fresno Civil Code 52.1 Law Firm, Fresno Bane Act Lawyers, Bane Act Law, Human Rights Lawyers Fresno, Fresno Civil Rights LawyersChicago Police Officer Found Guilty – “The Incident”

With trees turning bare and signs of frost clinging to fading grass blades, October 20, 2014 started the same way it usually does on the southwest side of Chicago. At 9:00 pm, Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke clocked in for the graveyard shift at the Chicago Lawn District headquarters. As he and his partner departed Chicago Midway Airport shortly after 9:30 pm, Van Dyke responded to a 911 call that reported a suspect was breaking into pickup trucks parked at 41st Street and Kildare Avenue.

Officer Van Dyke and 17-year Laquan McDonald did know each other, but their lives violently intersected at the corner of 40th Street and Pulaski Road, when officer Van Dyke unholstered his police issued revolver and shot McDonald 16 times.  A little more than one year passed before Van Dyke became the first Chicago police officer to be indicted on a murder charge for an on-duty shooting.

The Trial

An emotionally charge trial from day one, the Van Dyke proceedings captured the attention of Americans, as well as racial equality advocates worldwide. Defense counsel presented evidence that Van Dyke defended himself from a knife-wielding McDonald, with the knife introduced into evidence early in the trial. The prosecution countered with the claim that the 16 shots fired by Van Dyke were excessive and unnecessary.

Supreme Court Drama

SUPREME COURT DRAMA: A RECAP OF THE BRETT KAVANAUGH SUPREME COURT NOMINATION HEARING

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On July 9, 2018, President Donald Trump nominated Judge Brett Kavanaugh to fill a vacant seat on the United States Supreme Court. Nearly three months to the date of his nomination, the United States senate confirmed Kavanaugh’s nomination by the slimmest of margins, 50-48.

After several weeks of questions concerning his legal philosophy and a meticulous review of his judicial record, the senate appeared to be ready to vote on the nomination of Kavanaugh.

That is, until Christine Blasey Ford stepped forward with accusations that made the allegations against Clarence Thomas in 1991 seem pale by comparison.

We had no idea when we wrote a short blog article on Supreme Court Fast Facts on July 16, 2018 that the road ahead would be so bumpy for Justice Kavanaugh.  It has been a heck of a ride for him and those who followed.  Below is a recap of his nomination, the hearings to follow, the accusations, the aftermath and what the future holds.

THE ALLEGATIONS AGAINST KAVANAUGH

The senate swore in Christine Blasey Ford on Thursday September 27. In testimony that left the jam packed room eerily silent for most of the morning, Ford told the Senate Judiciary Committee that she was “100 percent” sure Brett Kavanaugh assaulted her when they both attended the same high school. The tone of her testimony varied between calm measure and unbridled emotion. Her voice noticeably cracked when she went into details of the assault, which Ford claimed occurred at a suburban Washington D.C. home. Ford stated under oath that Kavanaugh pushed her into a bedroom and attempted to remove her clothing. Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy asked Ford to describe the strongest lingering memory of the incident. “Indelible in the hippocampus is the laughter,” Ford replied. “The uproarious laughter between the two, and their having fun at my expense.”

THE AFTERMATH

Kavanaugh provided his sworn testimony immediately following the bombshell testimony shared by Christine Blasey Ford. Under obvious duress, Kavanaugh lashed out at the Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. He emphatically stated the hearings were a disgrace to the country and at times, his voice rose in inflection to make his points. At the end of his sworn testimony, Kavanaugh was asked by a committee member if Ford’s allegations were true.