Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months in prison on Friday January 19, 2019 for the shooting death of African-American teen Laquan McDonald.
Van Dyke, who is white, shot McDonald, who was 17 years old, 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014. Video released during the investigation showed McDonald was armed with a knife but the teen didn’t appear to be moving toward the police officers who responded.
Prosecutors sought a prison sentence of 18 to 20 years — while Van Dyke’s attorneys had asked for probation, according to ABC 7 News.
In Court on Friday Van Dyke said this:
“I pray daily for the soul of Laquan McDonald. I will have to live with this the rest of my life taking it to my grave. I was a police officer trying to make dangerous decisions. No one wants to take a life.”
Van Dyke’s wife and young daughters had pleaded for leniency in letters submitted to the judge ahead of the trial.
In fact one of his daughters, Kaylee Van Dyke, took the stand Friday blaming the media for shaming police officers for doing their jobs.
In October 2018 Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. He was found not guilty of official misconduct.