Jason Van Dyke, the ex-Chicago cop convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, is expected to be released from prison Thursday, having served fewer than four years.
Van Dyke, who is white, was sentenced to 81 months in prison in January 2019 after being convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated assault — one count for every shot he fired into McDonald as he held a knife about 10 feet away.
But Van Dyke, 43, was eligible to have his six-year sentence slashed in half due to good behavior, and is expected to be released Thursday.
In a statement early Thursday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she understood some Chicagoans were frustrated by the decision.
“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,” she said. “I understand why this continues to feel like a miscarriage of justice, especially when so many black and brown men get sentenced to so much more prison time for having committed far lesser crimes.”
Earlier this week, the NAACP urged the Department of Justice to bring federal civil rights charges against Van Dyke, joining a growing tide of activists and lawmakers.
Democratic Rep. Bobby Rush, and Rev. Jesse Jackson called for federal charges last week, according to Washington Post reporting, as did Tracie Hunter, McDonald’s grandmother.
“I just want justice, the right justice,” she told the Chicago Tribune. “I’m not going to rest or be satisfied until this man does his rightful time.”
At the time of McDonald’s murder, police had the teen, who was carrying a knife, mostly surrounded and were waiting for someone with a stun gun, according to testimony and video.
Dashcam video showed Van Dyke arrive and begin firing within six seconds, continuing to fire even after the youngster was lying on the pavement.
With Post wires