Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Van Dyke Gets Nearly 7 Years in Prison

Obtained by ABC News Laquan McDonald Obtained by ABC News Laquan McDonald
Pablo Mccormick | 21 January, 2019, 07:49

Arriving at the scene, Van Dyke got out of his vehicle and within a 15-second span, fired 16 shots at McDonald.

"Please think about me and about my life when you sentence this person to prison because he chose to become judge, jury and executioner and never asked for forgiveness and [why should he] be free when I am dead forever?" "I would say it's time for us to peacefully assemble to protest this tragedy", said community activist Dr. Leon Finney.

Prosecutors alleged that Gaffney, March and Walsh, who was Van Dyke's partner, submitted false reports about what happened to try to prevent or shape any criminal investigation of the shooting.

Van Dyke's sister, Heidi Kauffunger, told the court that her brother has been abandoned by family and friends since he was charged.

One of those witnesses, Vidale Joy, said Van Dyke used a racial slur after pulling him over in 2005 and at one point put a gun to Joy's head.

"I will have to live with this the rest of my life. taking it to my grave", he said, adding: "I was a police officer trying to make risky decisions".

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Van Dyke's wife of 17 years, Tiffany, described how the family has had financial trouble and temporarily lost health insurance.

Gaughan, who has handled high-profile cases like the trial of R. Kelly, sided with the defense, and sentenced Van Dyke on the second-degree murder charges. The prison term was also a fraction of what Van Dyke could have faced had he been convicted of first-degree murder, which carried a mandatory minimum of 45 years in prison. The victim wasn't putting anyone in immediate danger, and 16 shots was overkill, they said. Judge Vincent Gaughan's decision on that point will help determine the sentence.

Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months in prison for his second-degree murder conviction.

Cook County Associate Judge Domenica Stephenson ruled in favor of acquitting all three men implicated in the case - charges of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct all wiped clean by the court of law. The court-ordered release of a video of the incident, taken from a camera mounted on the dashboard of Van Dyke's police auto, prompted anger throughout Chicago and led to racially charged protests police reforms.

"This judge had made up her mind.to make sure these officers never saw the inside of a jail".

"We can not now view the actions of the officers with the benefit of hindsight as to what they should have believed", she said.

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Stephenson also suggested that Van Dyke and Walsh could have had a reasonable fear for their safety and should not be second-guessed "as to what they should have believed". Other statements that said McDonald threatened Van Dyke with the knife were also lies, the indictment said. "It was borne out in the video that McDonald continued to move after he fell to the ground" and refused to relinquish a knife.

"The impact that this crime has had on Laquan McDonald and his family and the impact on Van Dyke and his family - that's the shame", Gaughan said before pronouncing the sentence.

Police had been responding to a call that reported a man was breaking into trucks and stealing radios, yet due to the evidence from dash-cam and surveillance footage, it seemed clear that the circumstances did not call for the police to use deadly force.

The case cost Van Dyke and the Chicago police superintendent their jobs and was widely seen as the reason the county's top prosecutor was voted out of office.

Days of protests erupted in the third-largest US city when a dashboard camera video of the October 20, 2014, shooting was released more than a year later in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

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