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Jason Van Dyke sentenced to 6.75 years in prison, 2 years probation, for murder of Laquan McDonald

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CHICAGO  — Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months, or six and three-quarter years, in prison and two years of probation for the murder of Laquan McDonald in a Chicago courtroom on Friday.

Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated assault with a gun in October 2018. Prosecutors had asked for 96 years. Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan said in a statement from the bench that he counted the counts of aggravated assault with a gun as a single charge.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

With good behavior, Van Dyke would serve about half his prison sentence.

Gaughan handed his sentence down abruptly after telling the courtroom, “it’s just so senseless that these acts occurred.”

“You can see the pain on both sides of the family,” Gaughan said.

Van Dyke showed no visible reaction. It wasn’t clear if he immediately understood what happened.

Before handing down the penalty, Gaughan ruled that he would sentence Van Dyke for the crime of second-degree murder — not for the 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm. After a detailed legal explanation, the judge said he considered whether it is “more serious for Laquan McDonald to be shot by a firearm or is it more serious for Laquan McDonald to be murdered?”

The judge said “common sense” brought him to an easy answer.

Van Dyke was led away from the courtroom shortly after the sentence was handed down. As authorities began to escort him away, a court official waved repeatedly at TV cameras to stop filming.

In a joint statement released minutes after the sentencing, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Police Supt. Eddie Johnson said: “Today’s sentencing marks the end of a court case, but our work to bring lasting reform to the Chicago Police Department continues. While a jury and judge have rendered their decisions, all of us who love Chicago and call this city home must continue to work together, listen to each other, and repair relationships that will make Chicago safer and stronger for generations to come.”

WBEZ reported that Van Dyke’s defense had wanted only probation.

Van Dyke has 30 days to ask for an appeal to the sentence.

Black Lives Matter put this statement out on Twitter.

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