Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago police officer convicted of murdering an unarmed Black teenager Laquan McDonald, is currently serving the light sentence of 81 months in prison. Van Dyke’s wife now claims he has been assaulted in prison.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, his wife, Tiffany Van Dyke, said, “We are all petrified and in fear for Jason’s life. Jason just wants to serve his sentence. He does not want any trouble. I hope prison officials will take steps to rectify this right away. He never should have been in the general population.”
The outlet says when Van Dyke was incarcerated in Illinois he was not in general population. However, now that he has been transferred to a Connecticut prison and put in general population, lawyers claim “he had been beaten up by other inmates four hours after arriving at the prison.” He was allegedly attacked in his cell. The Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Connecticut wasn’t available for comment on the supposed attack, according to the Associated Press.
Originally, it was believed Van Dyke would receive a minimum of 96 years. However, his 12-year-old daughter wrote a letter to the judge saying, “I have been bullied at school about what has happened. Kids come up to me and say that my dad is a murderer. That hurts so much when people say that to me. My dad is not that.” His wife reportedly pleaded in court by saying, “He has paid the ultimate price. He will no longer be a police officer. His life is over.”
ABC reports, “Judge Vincent Gaughan said he considered the most serious charge to be the second-degree murder charge, not the 16 aggravated battery charges and made his sentencing decision on that murder charge.”
The horrific video of the killing of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald appeared to show Van Dyke fired at him 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, which is what Van Dyke falsely said happened. McDonald continued to be shot at even after he fell to the ground from the initial bullets.
Two police officers and one detective were acquitted of trying to cover up the shooting for Van Dyke, even though that was precisely what they did. 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 Walsh lied. Still, he and his co-defendants were acquitted.
Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul is reportedly reexamining Van Dyke’s light sentence.