Laquan McDonald’s Murderer Leaves Prison

Courtesy of Bob Simpson (Flickr CC0)

Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was released from prison after serving less than half of his sentence. He was convicted of second-degree murdering Laquan McDonald in 2019.

The former officer was sentenced to six years and nine months for 16 counts of aggravated battery and second-degree murder of the 17-year-old Black teenager.

Courtesy of Bob Simpson (Flickr CC0)

Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014. It took only 13 seconds from the first shot to last for Van Dyke to fire his weapon. The former officer had been on shift for only 45 minutes before a call came in saying that a person was breaking into vehicles on the Southwest Side of Chicago. The incident was captured on film.

A year after the former officer killed McDonald, he became the first officer to be charged with murder for an on-duty fatal shooting in 50 years.

The Cook County medical examiner’s office stated that McDonald’s death was the result of multiple gunshot wounds. Their toxicology report showed the young man had phencyclidine (PCP) in his system. They concluded that his manner of death was a homicide.

Medical examiners are able to identify 26 entry and exit wounds in McDonald’s body:

  • Four in the chest.
  • Six in the right arm.
  • Five in the left arm.
  • One in his right-side torso.
  • Two in the back.
  • One in the right hip.
  • Three in the right thigh.
  • Four in the left leg.

Ahead of Van Dyke’s release Mayor Lightfoot sent out a statement to residents. She acknowledged that many people were annoyed by his release and that his sentence of “81 months was and remains a supreme disappointment.”

The disappointing moment “should not prevent us from seeing the significant progress Van Dyke’s prosecution and conviction represent,” she added.

“I understand why this continues to feel like a miscarriage of justice, especially when many Black and brown men get sentenced to so much more prison time for having committed far lesser crimes,” Mayor Lightfoot continued. She then pointed out that it is “these distortions in the criminal justice system, historically, that [has] made it so hard to build trust.”

McDonald’s family and protestors have called for federal charges to be brought against Van Dyke.

Written by Sheena Robertson


NBC News: Former officer who killed Laquan McDonald leaves prison after serving less than half of sentence; by Doha Madani and The Associated Press
Chicago Tribune: Minute by minute: How Jason Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald; by KORI RUMORE AND CHAD YODER

Images Courtesy of Bob Simpson’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License