Feb 3, 2022 - News

Jason Van Dyke to be released from prison

Prisoner in court

Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, left, listens to the judge at his sentencing hearing in 2019. Photo: Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke will be released from prison today.

Why it matters: Van Dyke was convicted in 2018 for killing Laquan McDonald. He served three years of his six-year, nine-month prison sentence and is now being released early for good behavior, but critics believe he should have spent longer behind bars.

What they're saying: "This is a clear and direct message to every awful law enforcement officer all across the country, if Jason Van Dyke is released," activist Will Calloway said at a recent press conference.

Driving the news: Activists and some Illinois lawmakers want the justice department to look into new federal civil rights charges against Van Dyke.

  • They include Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, who wrote a letter to U.S. Attorney Merrick Garland requesting a status update on the Justice Department's federal investigation.
  • The Justice Department has declined to comment.

The latest: Calloway and other activists are calling for a citywide transit strike to protest the early release.

Backstory: Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm, the first on-duty Chicago police officer convicted of murder in almost 50 years.

  • He could have served more time, but Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan decided not to sentence Van Dyke for the aggravated battery, only the second-degree murder.
  • Listen to Justin's live broadcast on WGN Radio the night of the verdict on Oct. 5, 2018.

What's next: Van Dyke could be transferred to a halfway house for up to 30 days before his outright release.


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