FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, January 18, 2019
Van Dyke Sentence a Slap in the Face of Justice
A statement from the Rainbow PUSH Coalition
CHICAGO – Jason Van Dyke’s 81-month sentence for murdering Laquan McDonald is a slap in the face of justice, a punch to the gut.
After listening to testimony at his sentencing hearing today from four African American men who survived street encounters with him, it is obvious that Van Dyke should have been removed from patrol and stripped of his badge and gun long before he shot the black high school student 16 times.
One of the men recounted how Van Dyke put “a gun to my temple,” during a traffic stop. Van Dyke, the man testified, was shouting obscenities and racial slurs as “if he was infuriated, out of his mind.” An Army veteran testified that during yet another traffic stop, Van Dyke handcuffed him and threw him face-first into the back of a patrol car. The man has had three shoulder operations because of his run-in with Van Dyke. He later won a $350,000 police brutality suit against the officer and the department.
Van Dyke needed counseling, not another mid-night shift to run roughshod over the citizens and through the streets of black and brown neighborhoods. Time after time, the department and the police oversight agency turned a blind eye to the civilian complaints of his brutality. The system let Laquan and his killer down. Now Laquan is four years in his grave and Van Dyke is headed to prison 6.7 years for snuffing out the life of a 17-year-old boy.
Van Dyke got off way too easy.
We are disappointed but not discouraged. We will continue to push for reform in the police contract and work to reel in the power of the Fraternal Order of Police. And we will continue to press for real and independent oversight of the police department.
The sentence was light, but the message was strong. Van Dyke is a convicted felon on his way to prison. He will never be a Chicago police officer again. His fate and shame should be a warning to his former colleagues in blue. It’s a new day in Chicago.
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.