Community Devastated By Short Sentence Handed To Police Officer That Killed Laquan McDonald

Many are angry with the six-year-sentence given to Jason Van Dyke, who shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Paula Rogo Jan, 20, 2019

Friends, family, and activists that supported Laquan McDonald, the teen fatally shot by a Chicago police officer, are voicing their frustration over the almost-seven-year sentence that the officer who killed him received earlier this week.

Jason Van Dyke was sentenced Friday to six years and nine months in prison by an Illinois judge, despite prosecutors wanting Van Dyke to serve at least 18 years in prison.

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Van Dyke was convicted last year of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for shooting the 17-year-old teen after spotting him walking down the street with a small knife in his hand.

But this sentence means Van Dyke could be released on good behavior in less than three and a half years, the Associated Press reported.

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“He deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars,” Chicago community organizer William Calloway told reporters on Friday. “That’s something that’s a consensus among the activist community, the black community and most Chicagoans at large.”

Calloway called the sentence “a slap in the face” to the community, “and a slap on the wrist [for Van Dyke].”

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The sentence came down just days after three of Van Dyke’s colleagues were found not guilty of falsifying reports and conspiring to cover up the death of McDonald.

Van Dyke is still facing more time for 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. He has yet to be sentenced for that conviction.