A white police officer who killed a young black man in Chicago, sentenced to seven years in prison

For the Leighton Criminal Court in Chicago, Illinois, on January 18th.
For the Leighton Criminal Court in Chicago, Illinois, on January 18th. KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI / AFP

A Chicago white policeman, convicted in October 2018 of the murder of a black teenager on whom he shot sixteen times four years earlier, was sentenced to almost seven years in prison on Friday, January 18.

"My findings are that an appropriate sentence would be 81 months in a penitentiary in Illinois, followed by two years of conditional release.", detailed judge Vincent Gaughan.

The verdict was pronounced after a day of hearings in which the witnesses of persecution said that they had been abused by the officer and the witnesses of the defense. especially members of his family, including his wife.

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Murder instead of murder

Jason Van Dyke was convicted in October 2018 for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald at a distance without reason while holding a knife. The twelve judges had pronounced their verdict the day after the start of their deliberation after a ten-day trial, convicting him for murder instead of murder.

They also condemned him from 16 other accusations of an aggravated use of a firearm, but spoke him free from malpractice. Upon the publication of this judgment, the conditional release of the former police officer had been withdrawn and he had been detained.

Regular police abuse

The very late release in 2015 of a video about the death of the teenager had exacerbated the anger of the population, which caused months of protests in the third city of the United States. In the aftermath, prosecutions were brought against Jason Van Dyke, while the city police commander and prosecutor responsible for the investigation were thanked.

The footage, filmed by a camera mounted on the dashboard of a police car, allows the policeman to see the fire on Laquan McDonald, a few meters away, and even to unload his charger once the young man on the ground. The police officer was only prosecuted after the unveiling of these images. None of the nine other officers present had used his weapon.

The US Department of Justice had investigated the Chicago police. It concluded that the abuse by the police was recurring in this city and that they were protected by one "Code of silence". The city of Chicago signed a civil settlement in 2015 with the teenager's family for $ 5 million.

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