Jason Van Dyke, convicted of killing Laquan McDonald, set to be released from prison next month

Van Dyke received a nearly seven-year prison sentence in 2019 for McDonald's 2014 death

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The former Chicago police officer who fatally shot Laquan McDonald in 2014 is getting out of prison early next month, according to multiple sources.

Jason Van Dyke is scheduled to be released on Feb. 3, according to the Chicago Sun-Times, though Illinois Prison Review Board records obtained by WGN said Van Dyke’s release date has been set for Feb. 8.

The review board did not immediately respond Friday night to a request for comment from theGrio.

Former Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, left, is taken into custody just minutes after jurors found him guilty of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald, at the Leighton Criminal Court Building on Oct. 5, 2018 in Chicago. (Antonio Perez/ Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool)

The 43-year-old Van Dyke has served more than three years behind bars after receiving a more than six-year prison sentence in 2019.

He was convicted of second-degree murder in October 2018 for shooting McDonald 16 times, causing the 17-year-old’s death, in October 2014.

It’s unclear exactly why Van Dyke has been granted an early release.

His second-degree murder conviction made him eligible to have half his scheduled prison term removed, with credit for time served and good behavior, according to the Sun-Times.

Laquan McDonald x theGrio
Laquan McDonald, 17, was fatally shot by former Chicago Police officer Jason Van Dyke, in Oct. 2014. (Photo: McDonald Family)

The state prison review board granted Van Dyke’s early release in September 2021, according to WGN.

“This gentleman has done the time that the government gave him,” McDonald’s uncle, Pastor Marvin Hunter of Grace Memorial Baptist Church, told the Sun-Times.

“While I do not agree with the sentence, in order to stay a civilized nation we have to honor the judge,” Hunter continued. “I do not think he should ever be a police officer again, but jail is for rehab and not recycling. I hope he was rehabbed.”

(Credit: Chicago Sun-Times/YouTube screenshot)

McDonald was armed with a knife but stood several feet away when Van Dyke shot him repeatedly more than seven years ago. Dashcam video of the incident wasn’t released until more than a year later in November 2015, causing then-Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to face criticism.

Four Chicago police officers were fired in July 2019 for allegedly trying to cover up McDonald’s murder. Three of them were found not guilty of related charges in January of the same year.

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