Jason van Dyke is set to be released from Chicago prison today, February 3rd, 2022. Van Dyke has served three years of a nearly seven-year sentence. He was convicted of second-degree murder for the killing of Laqauan McDonald, which put a spotlight on police misconduct.
McDonald was only 17 years old when he was shot 16 times by Van Dyke. Laquan Mcdonald was walking away from police at the time he was shot, he had no gun, but a knife in his hand.
At a news conference on Wednesday afternoon in Canaryville, Tracy Hunter pleaded that the man who killed her grandson remain in prison.
“Do not let him walk out of jail tomorrow,” Hunter said surrounded by supporters who are demanding new, federal charges be brought against the former Chicago police officer.
Already, the Reverend Jesse Jackson and Congressman Bobby Rush have called upon U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland to pursue federal charges against the former Van Dyke.
Illinois Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth have requested an update on the Justice Department investigation of the 2014 killing, which sparked outrage after it was revealed to the public.
Will Calloway, the community organizer who worked to secure the release of the video, is among those calling for Garland and other officials to weigh in on the pending release and seek federal charges. “These are not new calls,” Calloway said. “We have crying for federal charges for the last three years.”
Van Dyke was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for the shooting and killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Jason Van Dyke was charged with the same charges as Derek Chauvin, the officer who killed George Floyd. Chauvin is sentenced to 22 years of prison, as Van Dyke will only have spent 3 years in prison of a 7 year prison.
Mr. Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer to be convicted in an on-duty murder in almost 50 years.
The officer was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, one count for each bullet he fired. Prosecutors requested a sentence of at least 18 years in prison, but Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced him to less than half of that.
Judge Gaughan sentenced Mr. Van Dyke only on the murder count; a penalty for the aggravated battery counts could have resulted in a much longer prison term.
Chicago is preparing for protests, the prison Jason Van Dyke will be released from has not been disclosed to the public.