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Ex-Cop Who Shot Laquan McDonald Hears His Fate

Jason Van Dyke gets just shy of 7 years in prison at sentencing; he could be out in 3, analyst says
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2019 7:30 AM CST
Former Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke attends his sentencing hearing in Chicago on Friday.   (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

(Newser) – The former Chicago cop who gunned down black teen Laquan McDonald heard his fate Friday, and per the Chicago Tribune, it was a "relatively lenient sentence." The paper says Jason Van Dyke was "stoic" as Cook County Circuit Judge Vincent Gaughan handed down his prison term on charges of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm (one for each bullet pumped into McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014): six years and nine months, followed by two years of mandatory supervised release. With good behavior, Van Dyke could be out of prison in three years, an ABC7 legal analyst says.

The prosecution had asked for 18 to 20 years in prison; the defense had requested probation. "[He] truly felt great," Van Dyke's attorney said after the sentencing, per the New York Times. "He was not just relieved: He was happy." Not everyone was pleased with the sentence, however: McDonald's great-uncle says the too-short prison term reduced McDonald to a "second-class citizen," while "heartbroken" activist William Calloway says that Van Dyke "deserves to spend the rest of his life behind bars." Gaughan simply noted during his ruling: "This is a tragedy for both sides." (Three Chicago cops were acquitted on charges they tried to cover up McDonald's shooting.)

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