Ex-Chicago Police Officer, Jason Van Dyke, Sentenced to 81 Months in Prison


By Nadia Firozabadi, Staff Writer

Five years and sixteen shots later, police officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months in prison for fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in Chicago.

McDonald was pulled over by the Chicago Police on Oct. 20th, 2014 for stealing from trucks near 41st and Kildare street on the South Side. Once witnesses called the police and officers arrived, McDonald pulled out a knife. As the cops ordered McDonald to drop the knife and called for more backup, McDonald popped a tire of one cop car and started running down the street. Eventually, Van Dyke pulls up in front of McDonald, while he is running with the knife, and shoots him. He immediately spins clockwise and falls to the ground. Van Dyke took a couple of steps toward him and shot him 2 more times. Jason Van Dyke then proceeded to shoot Laquan Mcdonald 13 more times. Mcdonald was transferred to Mount Sinai Hospital and was announced dead with 26 entry and exit gunshot wounds, 4 on his chest, 6 on right arm, 5 on left arm, 1 on right-side torso, 2 on the back, 1 on right-hip, 4 on the left leg and 3 on the right thigh.

A year later, a dashboard cam video was released from the Chicago Police and was used as the main evidence against Jason Van Dyke on trial for the murder of Laquan McDonald. As the video gained massive attention, people identified that the footage shown in the video did not match the police reports. Van Dyke’s police report stated McDonald pointed the knife at him and attempting to attack the police while this accusation was shown in the video to be false.

Jason Van Dyke’s trial went back and forth for years until last week, when his conviction for second-degree murder turned into a near seven-year sentence. This sentence sparked massive public controversy.

Senior Dylan Chikko agrees with the ruling but believes the time should have been longer.

“I think it’s good that he did end up getting sentenced for what he did, but I think he definitely should’ve been put away for longer. People end up getting a lot more time for much less severe crimes with a lot less evidence than there was for him, so I don’t get why they couldn’t do the same for him,” Chikko said.

Senior Leah Nano agrees with Chikko and was surprised at the short sentence.

“I think the fact that he was found guilty was a step in the right direction and honestly, a relief. However, I think he was sentenced to a much shorter time in jail that I expected him to be,” Nano said.

Many people have already organized protests nationwide to coincide with the ongoing conversation about police brutality, particularly in communities of color.

Opinions vary as the sentence and the controversial trial acquires more publicity. Junior Hannah Paul believes the sentence is fitting and is satisfied with the step in the right direction.

“It was an appropriate sentence, and it’s a step in the right direction to make sure police officers are doing their jobs properly. I’m happy Laquan McDonald got the justice he deserved and I hope more cases of police brutality can be prevented in the future,” Paul said.

As of now, the case comes to a close, but the conversation is still ongoing within the public with no comments coming from law enforcement.