Chicago – A former Chicago white police officer was sentenced to 81 months imprisonment – nearly seven years – when he killed a black teenager in 2014, who was arrested on a devastating Dashcam video.
Judge Vincent Gaughan was sentenced to jail for Jason Van Dyke on Friday in the death of Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke was convicted of second murder and 16 heavy batteries in October 19459006, one for every shot Van Dyke had made that had hit McDonald.
Estimates of the sentence that Van Dyke might have received had changed greatly. The murder lawsuit has a prison sentence of four to 20 years, but Gaughan could have also issued Van Dyke on this count on probation. The tightened battery charge is carried behind bars with a sentence of six to 30 years and does not allow parole alone.
Van Dyke's defense prompted the judge on Friday to convict Van Dyke on parole for second-degree murder alone, while prosecutors argued that he should also be convicted of battery tightening. The minimum for these convictions can be up to 96 years, but the prosecutors demanded a judge for 1
When Gaughan pronounced his sentence, he agreed to convict Van Dyke solely for second-degree murder.
The judge described the case as a "tragedy for both sides".
The conviction comes one day after another Judge
Van Dyke, 40, arrived at the courthouse on Friday morning wearing a yellow prison suit and was guarded by the sheriff's deputies. He turned to the court before the judge announced his verdict late Friday afternoon. He said he prayed daily for the soul of Laquan McDonald and that the teenager's family "suffers because of my actions". He said he had opened the fire because he feared for his life and that killing McDonald was "the last thing I ever wanted to do".
"As a God-fearing man and father, I will live the rest of my life," said Van Dyke.
The hearing lasted all day, with several witnesses taking the position to give an emotional testimony. Gaughan heard of prosecutors' witnesses when the state put forward potential "aggravating factors" to support their claim for a 18-20-year sentence. Several black drivers testified that Van Dyke had used racial agitators and excessive force during traffic stops in the years prior to McDonald's shootout, and a man could not stop crying when he described the continuing effects of the raid, which he said was more permanent Pain.
Edward Nance testified that Van Dyke had pulled him out of a car after a 2007 traffic stop. Nance said he had handcuffed him, hit him twice against the vehicle and thrown him to the bottom of a cruiser. He had injured him so severely that he later needed rotator cuff surgery on both shoulders.
"He grabbed my arm and I wanted to tell him that it hurt, but it was as if he did not care," Nance said.
Nance said that Van Dyke yelled at his obscenities and never told him why he was being pulled.
Sobbing, Nance said he could no longer lift his arms over his shoulders and stop working as a juvenile umpire. Nance said the incident also emotionally traumatized him and he suffered from depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and attention deficit syndrome.
Nance said he has filed a civil suit against Van Dyke, the City of Chicago and several other members The Chicago Police Department and a jury issued a ruling in its favor. He said he had filed a report with the Independent Police Review Authority, which had not filed a lawsuit against Van Dyke.
"He went to work the next damn day as if nothing had happened," Nance said.
Another witness Van Dyke said a gun hit his temple during a traffic stop in 2005 and called him a race arch. The witness said the incident had traumatized him. One defense attorney said the witness did not include those allegations in a complaint against Van Dyke at the time.
Another man arrested by Van Dyke was visibly shaken when he testified that Van Dyke had suffocated him after a traffic stop and field sobriety test in 2011.
"I can do that man now Do not look, I'm just thinking about the night he swallowed me, "the witness said. "He simply had no regrets or nothing."
Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon called Van Dyke's actions "devastating" for the McDonald family, but said that Van Dyke's behavior also influenced the witnesses who testified Friday and the community as witnesses by eroding the trust to the police.
"Nothing I can say from this podium this afternoon will appeal to you louder or more effectively than what they told you – not just what happened to them in 2005, 2007, 2009, and 2011 The defendant's actions, such as his physical attack, have continued to harm them to this day, "McMahon said.
Rev. Marvin Hunter, the great-uncle of Laquan McDonald, read a statement about the impact of a victim he wrote from the perspective of the killed teenager.
"I'm a 17-year-old boy, I'm a second-degree murder victim and 16 cases of a serious assault with a deadly weapon," began the statement. "I can not speak with my own voice."
The statement states that the teenager had completed a construction job at the time of his death and was looking forward to living in the same house with his mother and sister again. But Van Dyke, he said, "with his cold, callous disregard for the life of a young black man without me provoking him, he robbed us of that."
"The story of my life is that in the short span of my life I've worked hard to correct the mistakes I made, but within six seconds he took 16 shots and ended the opportunity forever" Hunter read.
The teenager's death has brought "heartbroken pains". McDonald's family, but Van Dyke's actions have also affected the official's own family, the statement said.
"Please remember me and my life when you sentence that person to prison," the statement said. "Why should this person who has ended my life forever because she wanted to become judge, jury and executioner and never asked for forgiveness, be free, if I am dead forever?"
The judge also heard from witnesses when the defense presented possible "mitigating" factors to support their parole request. Defense lawyers filed nearly 200 letters from followers who asked the judge for leniency, including information from his wife and children, reports CBS Chicago.
Van Dyke's eldest daughter, Kaylee Van Dyke, 17, cried when she was harassed at school and her father was missing on birthdays and Thanksgiving. The girl's statement was not transferred, but reporters in the courtroom tweeted her notes out of her testimony.
"My heart sincerely goes to the McDonald family, but it's time to bring my father home," said Kaylee Van Dyke. reported by CBS Chicago's Roseanne Tellez .
Jason Van Dyke's wife Tiffany Van Dyke testified that her life had been "a nightmare". She called her husband a "friendly, gentle man" and described him as "everything," "her other half," and her "heart."
"He is a great person, a great father and a wonderful husband." Tiffany Van Dyke said. "He was also a very big, dedicated police officer for the city of Chicago, they lost a great officer."
She repeated other family members who testified that her husband is neither racist nor full of hate. She said that her two daughters in school should not eat or sleep and be bullied by children who tell them that "her father is a murderer." She said her family has threats and fears for her safety.
Tiffany Van Dyke sobbed that her biggest fear was that someone was going to kill her husband. He was a police officer – something for which he had been trained. "
" That night there was no malice, no hatred, "she said." It was just a man who did his job. "
When asked what she would say to the McDonald family, said she, her family, prayed for her and called McDonald's death a tragedy, saying she wanted "both sides" to have peace.
She asked the judge for a lenient sentence and said that her husband would never work again and already "paid the ultimate price."
Jason Van Dyke wiped his nose and eyes with a handkerchief, as his wife testified.
The former president of the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, Dean Angelo, also stepped in He described the night of McDonald's shoot as a "perfect storm."
"I know, that was not what he was up to," Angelo said. "This was a situation that was caused by a lack of description due to lack of compliance. If a knife is dropped, we are not here."
Van Dyke's lawyer Darren O'Brien said Van Dyke had responded to a McDonald police action.
"Everything that happened was set in motion by Mr. McDonald," O & Brien said.
When he accused the three officers accused of covering up Van Dyke on Thursday, Cook County Judge Domenica Stephenson described McDonald as an "armed offender" and stated that he refused to drop the knife. The statements seemed to depart from the jury, which Van Dyke condemned, stating that the teenager was not a threat to the officer.
Stephenson rejected the state's argument that Thomas Gaffney, David March, and Joseph Walsh, partners with Van Dyke, were. filed false reports to try to prevent criminal investigations. Among other things, they said the officers falsely claimed that Van Dyke had shot McDonald after McDonald aggressively struck a knife at the police and shot the teenager over and over as McDonald tried to get up armed with the knife.
Stephenson dismissed prosecutors' arguments that the video demonstrated that officers lied when they described McDonald as moving, even after being shot.
"An officer could reasonably have believed that an attack was imminent," she said. "It was confirmed in the video that McDonald moved on after he had fallen to the floor" and refused to give up a knife.
The video seemed to show that the teenager collapsed in a heap after the first shots and a large moved part as bullets hit his body for another 10 seconds.
Stephenson said the video is a "vantage point" taken from a different angle than Walsh's point of view. She said comparing the police report with the video to see if the reports are true – as the state claimed – would only look at part of the evidence.
The City Hall released the video to the public in November 2015 – 13 months after filming – and acted only because a judge ordered it. The charges against Van Dyke were announced only on the day of the release of the video.
The case cost the police his job and was generally seen as the reason why the county chief prosecutor was voted out a few months later. Mayor Rahm Emmanuel also opted for the decision not to seek a third term.
The charges triggered a federal investigation, leading to a report stating that Chicago officers regularly use excessive force and violate residents' rights, especially minorities. The city introduced a new policy of releasing a video of fatal police shootings within 60 days, accelerating a program to equip all police officers with body cameras, and adopting other reforms to increase the way police investigations are investigated to change.