Many activists paying attention to the treatment of Laquan McDonald‘s shooting know that this case is still ongoing. A guilty verdict has come against Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke but other city department officers involved in the shooting were expected to soon face their judgment days.
However, what will happen after Van Dyke’s moment of truth is rather clear: the 40-year-old man who jurors found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm after killing the 17-year-old teenager nearly four years ago will face countless years in prison. The former cop, who was being held in solitary lock up at Rock Island County Jail in Illinois, could be sentenced in excess of 96 years. He might be hit with consecutive six-year minimum sentences on each of 16 counts of aggravated battery and an additional consecutive prison term for whatever sentence Judge Vincent Gaughan hands down for his second-degree murder count, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Van Dyke’s sentencing was scheduled for later this year, with much of the nation watching for the number of years of the prison term. While that was clear-cut, when the Chicago officers charged with conspiracy and covering-up facts in McDonald’s shooting will join him in prison was not yet clear.
The upcoming trial of three Chicago officer — former Detective David March, ex-Officer Joseph Walsh and Officer Thomas Gaffney — will put a magnifying glass on the hours and day after McDonald’s fatal shooting. Prosecutors will pick apart the officers’ stories during the proceeding, beginning on Nov. 26, in an effort to examine how fiction was sold as fact. March and Walsh, both now retired, played lead detective in the investigation and partner to Van Dyke, respectively. They, along with Gaffney, one of the first responding officers on that night Oct. 20, 2014, were charged with trying to shield Van Dyke from prosecution, blame and wrongdoing, which was shown via graphic dashcam video.
Their defense couldn’t stop the wheels of justice in Van Dyke’s trial, which ended with him being held accountable for the unjustified killing. Activists have asked for March, Walsh and Gaffney to also be held accountable, as well as all other parties involved in the shooting. They want the blue wall of silence to come down.
Aside from Van Dyke’s sentencing and the other officers’ trial, the Chicago Police Department will have to decide whether it will change how it interacts with Black communities. Trump’s Department of Justice may be vehemently opposing police reform but the demand and need for change won’t die down.