Former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced to 6 years and 9 months in prison on Friday for the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald - an event that he called the worst day of his life. He is scheduled to be sentenced on Friday. She singled out how they preserved the graphic video at the heart of the case.
The paperwork they submitted by the three cops also described Officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot McDonald, as being the victim of assault. Other statements that said McDonald threatened Van Dyke with the knife were also lies, the indictment said.
In the video, McDonald is initially seen running, then walking in the middle of the street toward several police cars with flashing lights.
Prosecutors showed the video repeatedly during the three-week trial.
Officer Dora Fontaine testified March had instructed her to report that McDonald had threatened officers at the scene, despite her not seeing that occur.
The prosecution had also alleged that, to prevent criminal investigation of Van Dyke, police falsely claimed three officers were battered by McDonald.
Prosecutors had argued that ex-Detective March, ex-Officer Walsh and suspended Officer Gaffney went beyond following a police "code of silence", and that their individual reports about the incident displayed a uniformity that could only have come from a conspiracy. State witness Edward Nance, who is black, said through tears he had required surgery for both shoulders after Van Dyke pulled him over and slammed him against his vehicle in 2007.
Police officers often are segregated from the prison population for their safety, though studies have shown long-term isolation to be detrimental to inmates. "It was borne out in the video that McDonald continued to move after he fell to the ground" and refused to relinquish a knife. But in the end, he decided the 16 shots were all "one act" and that Van Dyke should only be sentenced on the second-degree murder charge, which carried a punishment of probation to 20 years in prison.
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On the footage, the teen is seen collapsing in a heap after the first few shots.
"Jason's not the person described by prosecutors", he said, describing several of his son's achievements through his childhood and school years. "It does not necessarily mean that one is lying", she said.
"My biggest fear is that someone will kill my husband for something he did as a police officer", she said through tears. He spent most of his 17 years as a ward of the state, shuttled between different relatives' homes and foster care from the time he was 3. Police were responding to a report of a male who was breaking into trucks and stealing radios on the city's South Side.
Video showed Van Dyke opening fire 16 times as McDonald was moving away from the officer.
Days of protests erupted in the third-largest USA city when a dashboard camera video of the October 20, 2014, shooting was released more than a year later in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.
The ensuing firestorm over the case prompted the dismissal of the city's police superintendent and calls for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign. Bell's first action after taking office was to remove three veteran assistant prosecutors, including one who played a role in presenting evidence to a grand jury in the case.
The accusations triggered a federal investigation, resulting in a blistering report that found Chicago officers routinely used excessive force and violated the rights of residents, particularly minorities. In a City mired by years of police corruption, all it takes is one fatal mistake.