Many were outraged when convicted murderer Jason Van Dyke was only sentenced to only 81 months in prison (fewer than seven years) two years of mandatory supervised release for killing Laquan McDonald. Now, the Illinois attorney general’s office has announced it is reviewing his sentence and there is a chance of more prison time.
“We are going to do a careful review of the record and the law and make a determination based on our review,” Maura Possley, a spokesperson for the Illinois attorney general’s office, said in a statement.
It is rare for the attorney general’s office to review a sentence. Legal experts told the Chicago Tribune, “the attorney general might be considering whether to petition the Illinois Supreme Court to order the trial judge to sentence Van Dyke again — only under tougher guidelines this time.”
The former Chicago police officer convicted of murdering the unarmed Black teenager in 2014 was sentenced Jan. 18. The verdict came nearly five years after McDonald was gunned down in a hail of excessive and unnecessary bullets.
The horrific video of the killing showed Van Dyke fire at McDonald 16 times within 14 seconds. The video was released one year after McDonald’s death and showed the teen walking away instead of confronting officers, contradicting Van Dyke’s account. McDonald continued to be shot at even after he fell to the ground from the initial bullets. During the sentencing hearing, a parade of Black men who said they were victimized by Van Dyke while he was a police officer claimed the former cop “used racial slurs and excessive force during traffic stops in the years before the 2014 killing that was captured on a shocking dashcam video,” the Associated Press reported.
Two police officers and one detective were acquitted of trying to cover up the shooting for Van Dyke. The three men all said Van Dyke, who was convicted in October, was justified in shooting the teenager 16 times within 14 seconds. Van Dyke’s partner the night of the shooting, even said: “McDonald was walking toward Van Dyke and with his arms raised when he was shot.” The video would later contradict that account, showing Van Dyke’s partner lied. Still, he and his co-defendants were acquitted.
Let’s hope Jason Van Dyke gets the prison time he deserves.
Rest in power, Laquan McDonald.