Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago police officer convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, is expected to be released from prison in early February, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Van Dyke is set for release on February 3 after serving more than three years in prison following a second-degree murder conviction and 16 counts of aggravated assault with a firearm.
He was sentenced to 6 years and 9 months in prison for killing McDonald in 2014. After responding to a disturbance call in the 4100 block of South Pulaski Road on October 20, 2014, Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times. Most of the shots he fired were after McDonald fell to the ground.
Van Dyke previously filed an appeal, and in October 2020, the Illinois First District Court of Appeals denied it at his request.
“Mr. Van Dyke’s decision avoids further years of litigation, bringing finality to the thorough prosecution of this case in which his rights have been protected and justice has been served,” the prosecutor said at the time. Kane County State, Joe McMahon.
William Calloway, a Chicago community activist, said he was shocked and outraged by the decision on Van Dyke’s release.
“We are livid, on behalf of the community, especially the black community,” he said. “We are livid.”
The only way to ensure justice is served, he said, is for the US Department of Justice to intervene. The activist and others are asking the DOJ to bring additional civil rights charges because they say Van Dyke violated McDonald’s civil rights.
With Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, Calloway says the news of Van Dyke’s expected release is particularly painful.
“It’s a slap in the face for organizers across the country and for everyone celebrating MLK this weekend,” he said.