Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted and sentenced to nearly 7 years in jail for murdering Laquan McDonald, was assaulted by inmates in his federal jail cell in Connecticut, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
In early February, Van Dyke was transferred to the federal prison in Connecticut and just hours after he arrived, he was placed in the general population before being assaulted in his cell. His wife, Tiffany, is expected to hold a news conference today to protest the attack on her husband.
“We are all petrified and in fear for Jason’s life,” she told the Sun-Times. “Jason just wants to serve his sentence. He does not want any trouble. I hope prison officials will take steps to rectify this right away. He never should have been in the general population.”
On Feb. 5, Van Dyke was transferred from an undisclosed state prison in Illinois to the federal prison in Danbury, Conn. His family and attorneys say they didn’t learn about the transfer until after it was already done, according to the Sun-Times.
In the state prison in Illinois, Van Dyke was isolated from other inmates and reportedly had no issues with other prisoners. But during a conversation with his lawyers on Tuesday, Van Dyke told them that four hours after he arrived in federal prison, he had been beaten up by other inmates. He said he was put into the general population and attacked in his cell.
Last October authorities had moved Van Dyke from protective custody in Cook County Jail in Chicago to jail in a neighboring county, believing inmates there would harm him.
In addition, Van Dyke’s attorneys allegedly received an anonymous call from an employee at the Connecticut prison, who provided more details about the beating and said he was worried about Van Dyke’s safety, according to the Sun-Times.
In October, Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery for the 2014 shooting death of McDonald. Van Dyke was sentenced last month to 81 months in prison – although Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon filed a petition this week with the Illinois Supreme Court hoping to get a new sentencing hearing for Van Dyke.
In the petition, Raoul and McMahon argue that Van Dyke should have been sentenced for aggravated battery, meaning he would have been forced to serve at least 85 percent of his sentence. Instead, Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke only on the second-degree murder count, as it is the more serious crime, which means that Van Dyke could end up serving only about half the sentence under good-time provisions, potentially leaving prison after just over three year