Jason Van Dyke Sentenced To Less Than 7 Years For Murder of Laquan McDonald; 3 Officers Acquitted In Cover-up

By Michael Walters

21 January 2019

On Friday Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to less than seven years (81 months) in prison, plus two years’ probation for the 2014 murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The sentence was handed down by Cook County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Gaughan one day after three CPD officers were found not guilty of conspiracy charges stemming from their role in covering up the murder of the African-American teen. Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer to be convicted of murder during an on-duty assault in more than half a century.

Van Dyke was convicted in October 2018 by a jury of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, one for every bullet Van Dyke unloaded into McDonald’s body over a 15-second period. Van Dyke could have received up to 20 years for second degree murder and between six and 30 years for each count of aggravated battery. If he was given the full sentence, he could have been in prison for the rest of his life. The minimal sentence can only be understood as the action of a ruling class that needed to sentence Van Dyke to avoid an eruption of social anger but did not want to set a precedent that might limit the ability of the police to act with the utmost violence.

The special prosecutor, Joseph McMahon, requested in his closing argument that Van Dyke receive 18 to 20 years. The defense argued that the case “screamed out for probation” due to the officer’s “clean” past and unlikeliness to reoffend. Including the time already served, and an early release he would not have received under aggravated battery, Van Dyke will likely spend less time in prison than it would have taken McDonald to go through high school.

Judge Gaughan overrode the jury’s conviction of murder and battery by electing to only sentence on the second-degree murder, reasoning that murder charge was the most serious conviction since the death was the result of the battery. Further, he stated that if he were to sentence on the aggravated battery charges, he would have combined the 16 convictions into one because they were all part of one act. Even if one accepts the reasoning that Van Dyke should only have been sentenced on murder, the 6.75-year sentence stands in contrast to the will of the jury.

via Chicago police officer sentenced to less than seven years for murder of Laquan McDonald; three officers acquitted in cover-up — Radio Free

Posted on 01/21/2019, in Cases, Laquan McDonald and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I agree the sentence was too low. Having recreational marijuana will get you more time. However it is a start. The police need to be held accountable, need better training, and need to understand they are not above the law, which many of them think they are. I cannot understand why so many jurors let police off the hook when there was video evidence they murdered someone. Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    • Scottie,
      I have some ideas for why jurors do not convict in spite of video evidence. For one, defense teams bring in an “expert” that testifies of training. Two, some folks are too afraid of retribution to convict cops. Three, criminal law requires the prosecution to meet the standard of beyond a reasonable doubt, while these cases are actually litigated on the abuse of discretion standard.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Xena,

    This sentencing is an affront to the definition of justice. Chicago has to get past this ‘blue wall’ to where the police officers rightfully believe that they can get away with just about anything.

    Still, I admire the community of Chicago for sticking to their guns by forcing this case to be prosecuted in a court of law where it would have been swept under the rug by local politicians.

    There’s still a long ways to go.

    Hugs Gronda

    PS. The holidays are over, you’ve changed doctors, undergone hell. Other than that, how are you doing.

    Many Hugs, Onda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gronda,
      With convictions for 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, I presumed that the book would be thrown at Van Dyke. The judge disrespected the jury by handing down less than 7 years for second-degree murder and not sentencing on the aggravated battery convictions.

      Thanks for asking about me. It’s a rather long story and is included in the one that ended up with me being in the hospital last month. My now former oncologist decided to administer Taxotere because I two days previous to infusion, I had surgery to install the port. That drug returned to my left hand where it caused necrosis in October. I’m now dealing with burning pain again and purple swelling. After suffering through the first episode for about 6 weeks, I’m going through it again — and it turns out that the oncologist should not have given me taxotere in the first place. You might remember that the insurance company did not want to approve that medication. Well, as it turns out that’s because the oncologist also staged me incorrectly.

      In spite of this, I am encouraged by my current oncologist.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Dear Xena,

        It’s maddening to hear about this story as you didn’t need to be suffering unnecessary pain. The new oncologist was a smart move.

        There is no way you aren’t hurting with all of this. The best I can say is “hang in there” and there is an end in sight.

        We love your voice. You’re the best.

        Hugs, Gronda


        • Gronda,
          I see a correlation with certain sentencing, the systems, and my medical treatment experience. One has to wonder if lives matter when people with authority make intentional decisions that jeopardize life. I laid in the hospital revisiting what led to my being there, and asked myself if my life matters to the oncologist who instructed me to take Benatryl for a UTI rather than prescribing an anti-biotic. I can only imagine the families of those such as Laquan McDonald revisiting events that ended with death.

          In late October, my now former oncologist announced leaving practice in January, so I would have to transfer to another oncologist anyway. I had one more treatment scheduled with the now former oncologist, but after my discharge from the hospital, transferred to the new oncologist immediately. Thank God that I’m alive to talk about it.

          Liked by 1 person

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