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Chicago policemen conspired to shield officer convicted of murder: prosecutor

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Three Chicago policemen conspired to protect a fellow officer after he fatally shot a black teenager in 2014, a prosecutor said on Tuesday, even though there was a video of the shooting that helped to convict former officer Jason Van Dyke.

Prosecutor Patricia Brown Holmes said in her opening statement that the defendants, David March, Joseph Walsh and Thomas Gaffney, offered accounts of the deadly incident that conflicted with video evidence. Laquan McDonald, 17, was armed with a knife when he was shot 16 times.

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The defendants have pleaded not guilty to charges of conspiracy, official misconduct and obstruction of justice. The bench trial is expected to run into next week.

In October, a jury found Van Dyke, who is white, guilty of second-degree murder in the shooting of McDonald, in a case that had laid bare tensions between the black community and police.

“Instead of serving and protecting all citizens of Chicago the defendants tried to protect only one – Jason Van Dyke – by trying to create a false justification for the shooting of Laquan McDonald,” Holmes said.

The Van Dyke verdict was the first time an on-duty Chicago police officer was held criminally accountable for the killing of an African American. The conviction followed numerous acquittals or mistrials of police officers facing criminal charges across the country in the deaths of black men.

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Defense attorneys said in their opening statements that the prosecution’s case lacks evidence.

“Whatever your feelings are about Jason Van Dyke, whatever you believe about his actions, that’s different than what these men did and what these men wrote,” James McKay, March’s attorney, said.

A dashboard camera video of McDonald’s shooting prompted days of protests, the ouster of the city’s police superintendent and calls for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign. The clip was released by the city more than a year after the shooting in response to a Freedom Of Information Act lawsuit.

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Van Dyke, 40, is in jail awaiting sentencing. He faces up to 20 years in prison for the second-degree murder conviction and up to 30 years for each of the 16 counts of aggravated battery, one for each shot he fired at McDonald.

Walsh and March, who was a detective, are no longer with the force. Gaffney was suspended without pay.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in Chicago; Editing by Frank McGurty and Matthew Lewis

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Trump has been ‘insulated’ by his wealth to never have to learn from his mistakes: biographer

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President Donald Trump's inherited wealth has meant he's never had to learn from his mistakes, Trump biographer Tim O'Brien told MSNBC's Brian Williams on Thursday.

"Bloomberg Opinion writer and our next guest Tim O’Brien writes today, 'Yes, of course, you need a certain kind of appalling narcissism to be comfy promoting yourself as heaven-sent in a televised press briefing and as a deity on Twitter. It’s doubly unhinged when you’re doing this as president,'" Williams said. "He goes on 'The Trump of the past few weeks is the same disordered figure of the past several decades with, I suspect, a big dollop of something new blended in: unbridled and unmanageable panic.'"

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‘Both Putin and Xi will be voting Trump in 2020’: NYT columnist says Russia and China want ‘turmoil and chaos’

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The Russian Federation and the People's Republic of China are both rooting for President Donald Trump to win re-election in 2020, a New York Times columnist argued on MSNBC on Thursday.

Thomas Friedman was interviewed by Lawrence O'Donnell on "The Last Word."

"What do we know about how the leaders of other countries see Donald Trump at this stage in their dealings with him?" O'Donnell asked. "Especially this weekend, when it comes at the end of a week in which they’ve heard him call himself the King of Israel, they have heard him say he is The Chosen One. They have heard all the crazy things that everyone here has heard the president say."

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Trump is ‘not a stable genius’: GOP strategist says the president ‘doesn’t remember who and where he is’

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President Donald Trump's mental fitness is lacking, a top Republican strategist explained on "The Last Word" with Lawrence O'Donnell.

Rick Wilson, the author of the 2018 bestselling book Everything Trump Touches Dies: A Republican Strategist Gets Real About the Worst President Ever, blasted the commander-in-chief.

"Rick Wilson, your assessment of where the president stands as he heads off to the G7 summit?" O'Donnell asked.

"I think Donald Trump has had a week in which he is proving that this isn’t 87-dimensional chess game, this isn't some masterful strategy of communications or persuasion," Wilson replied. "This is an old man who is sick and who has problems and who has mental disconnects and who has aphasias and who has moments where he doesn’t remember who and where he is."

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