The former officer responsible for the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald received a warm greeting from fellow offenders in Chicago following his light sentencing. NBC5 reports that Jason Van Dyke sustained injuries on Wednesday night after being beaten in prison.
Van Dyke, who was recently sentenced to six years and nine months in jail, was reportedly among the general population at the time of the assault. He suffered facial bruises but was determined to be in good health.
Following a news conference on Thursday, the Chicago Tribune states that Van Dyke's lawyers, Daniel Herbert and Tammy Wendt, are suspicious of the event, questioning his move from a state correctional facility in Illinois to the federal prison facility in Connecticut last week. They had not been alerted of any safety risks at the previous location and are uncertain why he was transferred.
Van Dyke had been held in the Illinois Department of Corrections facility since his January sentencing, where he was securely placed in isolation. The new location in Connecticut, the Danbury Federal Correctional Institution, is reportedly a low-to minimum-security facility.
Two days before the incident, Van Dyke was placed among the large prison community. He was later attacked and assaulted in his jail cell.
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Van Dyke was then moved into a more secure unit following the attack. No other details regarding the event have been released.
“The mentality out there seems to be that people won’t rest until he is either given a life sentence or killed in prison, and that’s truly unfortunate," said Herbert, "and it’s certainly not what this system is about."
Van Dyke's wife, Tiffany Van Dyke, asked in an emotional plea Wednesday for her husband to be released from jail. "I want my husband home. I want him to be safe."
"I cannot bury my husband," Tiffany pleaded for Van Dyke, recently found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated assault.
Attorney General Kwame Raoul and special prosecutor Joseph McMahon are accusing Van Dyke's judge of practicing leniency on the murderer. According to reports, Van Dyke should have been sentenced based on the 16 aggravated assault charges, as each count should have required a minimum of six years each. Van Dyke was instead sentenced based upon the second-degree murder charge.
AG Raoul and McMahan stated that Van Dyke could have been sentenced up to 96 years, although they only asked for 18 and received far less.
The prosecutors are taking their case to the Illinois Supreme Court in hopes of having Van Dyke's sentence lengthened.
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