Former Chicago Officer Sentenced to Nearly 7 Years in Prison for Killing Laquan McDonald

By Stephanie Officer
Copyright (c) 2018 CBS Studios Inc. All Rights Reserved.

The former Chicago police officer who killed Laquan McDonald was sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison Friday.

Last year, Jason Van Dyke, who is white, was convicted of second degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated assault and battery-- one for each bullet fired at the 17-year-old, who was black.

Dashcam video illustrated how the horrifying event played out in October, 2014.

It showed McDonald, who had been high at the time, ignoring the officer’s command to drop a knife he’d been carrying. The release of that video one year later, led to protests across the country.

Many believed the shocking visual would help secure a harsher prison sentence for Van Dyke than the 6 years and 9 months he'd received.

Family members of McDonald, along with activists thought the sentence was too light-- especially since it is possible Van Dyke could serve only half of that time.

Of the sentencing, McDonald’s great uncle, Rev. Marvin Hunter, said it "suggests to us that there are no laws on the books for a black man that a white man is bound to honor," according to CBS News.

In a statement to the judge, Van Dyke acknowledged his actions, saying "as a God-fearing man and father, I will have to live with this the rest of my life."   

The Chicago Tribune reports the decision came one day after a separate judge acquitted three other officers of charges that they allegedly conspired to justify the shooting by falsifying documents and claiming McDonald was the aggressor.

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