CHICAGO, Ill. (AP) -- Updated: Feb. 11, 2019, 12:35 p.m.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is asking the state Supreme Court to order a new sentence for Jason Van Dyke, the white Chicago police officer who fatally shot black teenager Laquan McDonald.
Raoul announced Monday that he’s asked for a court order that would send Van Dyke’s case back to the trial judge for a new sentence. It’s a rare move for prosecutors, who believe Van Dyke’s sentence was too lenient.
Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke in January to six years and nine months in prison.
The special prosecutor, Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon, had asked for a sentence of between 18 and 20 years. The defense sought probation.
Updated: Jan. 24, 2019, 7:25 p.m.
The Illinois attorney general’s office has signaled it may be considering a rare sentencing-related appeal if it concludes a white Chicago police officer’s less-than-seven-year prison sentence in the slaying of black teenager Laquan McDonald was wrongly calculated.
The office said in a brief statement emailed Thursday it is reviewing Jason Van Dyke’s sentence. With credit for good behavior, Van Dyke will likely serve only around three years for firing 16 bullets into McDonald in 2014. Dashcam video of the shooting released by the city in 2015 showed Van Dyke continued to fire as the 17-year-old crumpled to the street and lie on the ground.
The graphic video images stirred expectations that Van Dyke would receive a lengthy sentence. But activist William Calloway, who helped force the city to release the video, echoed the sentiment of many Chicago residents last week when he said the punishment imposed by Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan amounted to “a slap on the wrist.”
Van Dyke’s attorney, Dan Herbert, criticized Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul for appearing to contemplate an appeal, saying his office could have weighed in prior to last Friday’s sentencing and presented its views to the judge.
Updated: Jan. 18, 2019, 5:45 p.m.
Jason Van Dyke, the officer convicted for the murder of Laquan McDonald has been sentenced to 6 years, 9 months in prison.
The sentencing hearing has begun for the Chicago police officer who killed black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014.
Jason Van Dyke, who was booted from the force once he was convicted, was led into court Friday in a yellow jail jumpsuit. His wife and two daughters are at the hearing.
Judge Vincent Gaughan says he'll first hear legal arguments about which is the more serious charge against Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery -- one for each time he shot McDonald. If he decides the murder charge is more serious, that could lead to a lesser sentence under a complex sentencing equation.
After that legal issue is settled, attorneys will call witnesses to make the case for aggravating or mitigating circumstances before making their final arguments.
A judge rejected allegations that the shocking video of Laquan McDonald's death proved that police officers staged a cover-up in the fatal shooting of the black teen.
Now another judge must decide how long the officer who pulled the trigger spends behind bars. Jason Van Dyke was convicted in October of second-degree murder and aggravated battery. He will likely be given prison time when he's sentenced Friday.
But critics of the police department who cheered Van Dyke's conviction are worried after a judge on Thursday acquitted three officers accused of trying to conceal what happened to protect their colleague. He was the first Chicago officer found guilty in an on-duty shooting in a half century and probably the first ever in the shooting of an African-American.