Police prepared, but not expecting unrest following Van Dyke verdict

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Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson is confident there will be no civil unrest following the Jason Van Dyke trial, but the police are prepared for any escalations. | Sun-Times file photo

Law enforcement officials do not anticipate anything more than peaceful protests following the verdict in Chicago Police Officer’s Jason Van Dyke murder trial.

But additional police resources in a strategy similar to the one used after the Cubs World Series win will be available should the need arise, Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said on Monday.

Johnson said he and his command staff have been talking to community leaders for some time, making him confident there will be no chaos once the jury’s decision is announced.

“All of the entities I’ve spoken to, do not expect any unrest at all,” the top cop said at a news conference.

“…You may not really see a noticeable difference,” Johnson said, regarding police presence. “But we’ll be prepared in the event we need to ramp up things.”

That could include 12-hour shifts or canceling days off for officers.

The volume of uniformed officers, Johnson said, would not be significantly different than what has been present during the trial.

“I hate to say it’s business as usual, but it’s business as usual for us,” Deputy Supt. Anthony Riccio added.

Johnson said the police department has been monitoring the trial and has studied the response of other cities where civil unrest has occurred.

“In those cities, you never saw any civil unrest after their trials,” he said.

“All of their unrest took place after the particular incident. I can tell you in Chicago, we haven’t seen that (either), and I think one of the big reasons is because we’ve had such a community outreach between the police department and the communities.”

Van Dyke’s defense team began presenting its case on Monday. The officer is on trial for the fatal 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.


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