Top Stories
Top Stories
U.S. News

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison for killing black teenager Laquan McDonald

In a separate incident, demonstrators protest the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald along the Magnificent Mile November 27, 2015 in Chicago.
Getty Images

A judge has sentenced former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke to nearly seven years in prison in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Judge Vincent Gaughan's sentence of six years and nine months in prison Friday came a day after another judge acquitted three other officers of trying to cover up the shooting to protect Van Dyke.

Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times, including after the 17-year-old was on the ground and barely moving. A jury convicted him in October of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each shot.

The case went largely unnoticed until the city was forced to release police dashcam video 13 months after it happened. The video sparked large protests and led to the ouster of Chicago's top police official and some department reforms.

The 40-year-old Van Dyke is believed to be the first Chicago officer convicted in a fatal on-duty shooting of an African-American.

Van Dyke has told the judge who will sentence him that "The last thing I wanted to do was shoot Laquan McDonald"

Van Dyke spoke briefly Friday after more than a dozen character witnesses testified and after his attorneys and prosecutors summed up their cases.

Van Dyke said Friday that he has "prayed daily for the soul of Laquan McDonald."

Van Dyke's wife says her life has been "a nightmare" and has been turned upside down since the former Chicago police officer's murder conviction.

Tiffany Van Dyke said Friday at her husband's sentencing hearing that he is her "everything," her "other half" and her "heart."

She echoed other family members who testified that her husband isn't racist or full of hatred.

Fighting through tears, she said her two daughters don't eat or sleep and get bullied at school by kids who tell them "their father is a murderer."

Jason Van Dyke wiped his nose and eyes with a tissue as his wife testified.

Van Dyke's family members are trying to humanize the former Chicago police officer during his sentencing hearing for the 2014 fatal shooting of McDonald, saying he's a good father and husband who goes out of his way to help and who isn't racist.

Related Tags