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Police Officer Who Murdered Black Teenager To Be Released From Prison Early

Police Officer Who Murdered Black Teenager To Be Released From Prison Early

A police officer who shot a Black teenager 16 times is set to be released early from prison.

A police officer who shot a Black teenager 16 times is set to be released early from prison.

In 2014, Jason Van Dyke, a Chicago police officer, shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The 43-year-old was convicted of the crime in 2018, however his sentence has since been reduced and he is now set to be released next week.

In October 2014, it was reported to police that McDonald had been breaking into and damaging cars in the Southwest side of Chicago, and that the teenager had a knife, as per VICE. Two officers, including Van Dyke, attended the scene.

Recovered police dash camera footage showed that upon arriving at the scene, Dyke fired 16 shots at McDonald just six seconds after he left the police vehicle.

The shots hit McDonald in the chest, neck, back, arms and legs, and some hit the teen as he was already laying on the floor, according to the autopsy report.

The teenager died on his way to hospital.

It was argued by Van Dyke's defense team that the officer had feared for his life, however, the dash camera footage strongly contested such claims.

Eyewitnesses present during the shooting were also not interviewed by officers, and three officers even filed false police reports that claimed Van Dyke had been lunged at by McDonald. Protests subsequently took place in Chicago as a result of the dash camera footage which distilled Van Dyke's and the other officers' claims.

In July 2019, the three officers who gave false reports were fired from the department, however in relation to charges which alleged they had covered up the truth behind McDonald's death, it was determined the trio were not guilty.

Van Dyke was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison, after he was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.

He faced a possible 96 years in prison, but despite prosecutors seeking a minimum of 18 years, he was only handed the lowest boundary of six, which sparked heavy criticism

After just three years in prison, Van Dyke is now set to be released and spend a minimum of two years on parole as a result of good behaviour.

On Thursday, January 27, McDonald's grandmother, Tracie Hunter, told the Chicago Tribune that Van Dyke's punishment was like 'a slap on the wrist'.

On Monday, January 24, the McDonald family requested for civil rights charges to be brought against Van Dyke and for the Department of Justice to begin a federal investigation into the shooting.

The 17-year-old's grandmother concluded: 'I just want justice, the right justice. I’m not going to rest or be satisfied until this man does his rightful time.'

If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website

If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: Black Lives Matter, Chicago, US News