The former Chicago police officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014 was released from prison Thursday (February 3) after serving less than half of the seven years he was sentenced to.
Jason Van Dyke walked free out of an Illinois Department of Corrections facility, CNN's Omar Jimenez confirmed, getting an early release on tied to the state's "good behavior" statute.
On October 20, 2014, Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times and initially reported that the teen had lunged at him with a knife. Dash cam footage released more than a year after the shooting showed that Laquan was walking away from the officer when he opened fire.
In the 2019 sentencing hearing, state prosecutors pushed for Van Dyke to serve 18 years in prison, but the former cop was handed down a seven-year sentence.
"When I think back what my reaction was in 2019 when his sentence was handed down, [it] was wow," former prosectuor Joe McMahon, who led the state conviction of Van Dyke told CNN. "He's going to be out fairly quick."
"We never asked for revenge, we asked for justice" Laquan's great-uncle, Rev. Marvin Hunter told the news organization.
"And in the case of Jason Van Dyke we feel we got justice, because he got prosecuted for the crime that he did. He did not do the amount of time that we felt like he should have done, but he did get prosecuted."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot echoed the sentiments in a statement, noting that Van Dyke's conviction marked the first where an officer was charged with a crime for on-duty actions.
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