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Ex-cop Jason Van Dyke released from prison; Lightfoot comments
2022-02-03

This article shared 715 times since Thu Feb 3, 2022
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Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is being released from prison early after the 2014 murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

Van Dyke infamously shot the teen 16 times as the boy walked away from him. The ex-officer was sentenced in 2019 to nearly seven years in prison; he was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, per CNN.

Joe McMahon, the former special prosecutor who led the state conviction of Van Dyke, had asked for Van Dyke to serve 18-20 years. Van Dyke is now being released after just a little more than three years, which is tied to good behavior in prison; the time spent imprisoned will be less than half of his original sentence.

Many have called for Van Dyke to face federal charges after he completes his state sentence. They include the NAACP, some McDonald family members and even outgoing U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, who represents a large part of Chicago's South Side.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot released a statement related to Van Dyke's release.

She said, "I know some Chicagoans remain disheartened and angry about Jason Van Dyke's sentence for the murder of Laquan McDonald. As I said at the time, while the jury reached the correct guilty verdict, the judge's decision to sentence Van Dyke to only 81 months was and remains a supreme disappointment. I understand why this continues to feel like a miscarriage of justice, especially when many Black and brown men get sentenced to so much more prison time for having committed far lesser crimes. It's these distortions in the criminal justice system, historically, that have made it so hard to build trust.

"While I know this moment is disappointing, it should not prevent us from seeing the significant progress Van Dyke's prosecution and conviction represent. He was the first officer in more than half a century to be convicted of a crime committed purportedly in the line of duty. This prosecution led to historic reforms, including comprehensive legislation that created the first-ever community police oversight body in Chicago, and a consent decree to oversee CPD reform. There is much more work to do, and it is by doing that work that we can heal from this and move forward [toward] justice and accountability every day."


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