The white former Chicago police officer convicted of killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014 is scheduled to be released from prison as soon as next month.
Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of killing McDonald in 2018, is scheduled to be released on February 3, after serving less than half of his 81-month sentence, an official with the Illinois Prison Review Board confirmed.
"I'm hoping he's learned the error of his ways. I have always asked for justice and not revenge" Laquan's great-uncle, Rev. Martin Hunter, told the Chicago-SunTimes. "We got as much justice you could get with the players that were there at the time he was on trial," Hunter added.
McDonald's October 2014 killing prompted national conversation about race and police brutality at a time when Black Americans had already raised the names of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Oscar Grant, and too many others.
At the time, it was a judge who had to force the city to release video footage showing Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times. Many of the shots were fired when the teenager was already on the ground, fueling protests around the city.
The police superintendent was fired, and voters booted out the city's top prosecutor following the fatal incident. Then-mayor Rahm Emanuel did not go up for reelection.
In 2018, four years after McDonald was gunned down, Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. In January 2019, the former cop was sentenced to 81 months in prison –– a term that has included several transfers after he was allegedly assaulted by other incarcerated people at multiple facilities.
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