This Is Not Justice: Former Chicago Police Officer Sentenced to 6 Years, 9 Months for the Murder of Laquan McDonald

Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke and his attorney Daniel Herbert attend Van Dyke’s sentencing hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building January 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Pool (Getty Images)

As if we needed more proof of just how much the criminal justice system in the United States does not value the lives of black people, a judge in Chicago gave us a glaring example. The former police officer who murdered 17-year-old Laquan McDonald will serve just 6 years and 9 months for his crime.

It would appear that the judge in this case knew that what he was doing was an egregious miscarriage of justice and a disservice to everyone involved. The Associated Press reports that prior to his ruling, Judge Vincent Gaughan told the court that no one involved with the case would be pleased with his ruling.


“I assume 100 percent of people will be disappointed,” Gaughan said.


Prosecutors had asked that Jason Van Dyke be sentenced to 18 to 20 years in prison while his defense team argued that he could be released on probation.


Van Dyke, 40, was convicted last year of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery—one for each bullet he fired at McDonald even after he lay on the ground dying.

Van Dyke was fired from the force after being convicted for the 2014 shooting. His sentencing comes just one day after another judge acquitted three of his coworkers for the part they played in covering up his crime.


A police officer shot and killed a 17-year-old boy who was walking away and had his back to him. When the shooting was over, the police went into the the nearby Burger King that had cameras which captured the shooting. They deleted the Burger King surveillance video according to the store’s manager.

Then all the officers involved wrote their reports so that it appeared the dead teenager was responsible for his own death.


All of this happened, and not one judge in the case saw fit to give Laquan McDonald or his family the justice that they deserve.

If you want to know why black people are distrustful of police and the justice system in general, this is why.

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About the author

Monique Judge

News Editor for The Root. I said what I said. Period.