Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, in prison for the murder of black teen Laquan McDonald, was reportedly beaten in prison by other inmates and suffered facial injuries.
As NBC Chicago reported, Van Dyke is in prison in Danbury, Connecticut, after being convicted of shooting McDonald to death while on duty. Van Dyke was in the general population of the prison when the attack took place, the report added.
Details of the attack were not yet clear, but sources said that Van Dyke was expected to be OK despite suffering facial injuries in the attack. It was also unclear why Van Dyke was transferred to the Connecticut prison, the report noted. There had been no incidents while Van Dyke was in an Illinois prison, though there had been some worries that he may be a target for other inmates given the notoriety of his case and his conviction for shooting McDonald 16 times.
Van Dyke has been sentenced to 81 months in prison for the shooting death of the 17-year-old, a killing that sparked racial tension in Chicago and widespread calls for reform from the Chicago Police Department. Video of the shooting attracted viral interest and became a major part of Van Dyke’s trial, showing the officer firing a number of times and striking McDonald 16 times despite the teen not appearing to be a threat.
Van Dyke’s prison sentence also drew some controversy, as prosecutors had been seeking 18 to 20 years in prison. Van Dyke could be out in as little as three years with good behavior, ABC 7 Chicago reported.
“I’ve been told time and time again that the citizenry of the county of Cook is not going to be satisfied with a sentence that’s anything south of 20 years,” said McDonald’s great uncle, Pastor Marvin Hunter. “However I want to say to everyone – everyone in the city of Chicago and across this country – that if they had sentenced him to 1 minute, it is a victory. It is a victory because what has happened in this courtroom today has never happened in the history of this county and it sets a precedent and it sends a strong message to unjust police officers that now you can and will go to jail if you’re caught lying, if you’re caught breaking the law.”
Officials did not identify the inmates accused of beating Jason Van Dyke in prison, and the full details of how and when the attack occurred were not yet released.