The explosive video of a white Chicago officer who shot a black teenager 16 times in 2014 shocked consciences around the world. The graphic images of Laquan McDonald crumpling on the street while the bullets kept hitting him, aroused expectations that the officer could be convicted of the murder and pay a heavy price in jail.
But on Friday, A sentence of less than seven years. for Jason Van Dyke, and the possibility that he could serve only half of that, he caused McDonald's family and at least one activist to question whether justice had been done and if the right message had been sent to other officers .
McDonald's family regretted that the penalty was too mild. His great uncle, the Reverend Marvin Hunter, said the sentence reduced McDonald's life to that of "a second-clbad citizen" and "suggests that there are no laws on the books for a black man to which a white man is obliged". honor."
William Calloway, who played a decisive role in the legal battle that led to the release of the dashcam video in 2015, described the punishment as "a slap in the face for us and a slap in the wrist" for Van Dyke, who was convicted by Second time – Half of homicides and 16 charges of battery aggravation: one for each bullet fired at the 17-year-old McDonald.
His sentence came a day after a different judge. absolved three officers accused of lying about the shooting to protect Van Dyke, who was probably the first Chicago official found guilty in the shooting of an African-American.
The sentence was less than half the penalty that had been requested by prosecutors, who applied between 18 and 20 years. But it went far beyond the request of the defense attorneys, who argued that Van Dyke could be released on parole. The prison sentence was also a fraction of what Van Dyke could have faced if he had been convicted of first-degree murder, which carried a mandatory minimum of 45 years in prison.
The lead defense attorney, Dan Herbert, said Van Dyke "felt really good" after hearing his sentence. "He was happy with the prospect of life that lay ahead" and someday he could meet his wife and two daughters.
In a brief statement, Van Dyke acknowledged the teenager's death and told the judge that "as a God-fearing man and father, I will have to live with this for the rest of my life."
On Friday, Judge Vincent Gaughan called the case a "tragedy for both parties."