CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on the sentencing of the Chicago police officer who fired the shots that killed black teenager Laquan McDonald (all times local):
The sentencing hearing has begun for the Chicago police officer who killed black teenager Laquan McDonald in 2014.
Jason Van Dyke, who was booted from the force once he was convicted, was led into court Friday in a yellow jail jumpsuit. His wife and two daughters are at the hearing.
Judge Vincent Gaughan says he’ll first hear legal arguments about which is the more serious charge against Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery — one for each time he shot McDonald. If he decides the murder charge is more serious, that could lead to a lesser sentence under a complex sentencing equation.
After that legal issue is settled, attorneys will call witnesses to make the case for aggravating or mitigating circumstances before making their final arguments.
A judge rejected allegations that the shocking video of Laquan McDonald’s death proved that police officers staged a cover-up in the fatal shooting of the black teen.
Now another judge must decide how long the officer who pulled the trigger spends behind bars. Jason Van Dyke was convicted in October of second-degree murder and aggravated battery. He will likely be given prison time when he’s sentenced Friday.
But critics of the police department who cheered Van Dyke’s conviction are worried after a judge on Thursday acquitted three officers accused of trying to conceal what happened to protect their colleague. He was the first Chicago officer found guilty in an on-duty shooting in a half century and probably the first ever in the shooting of an African-American.
For more stories about this case, visit AP’s Laquan McDonald hub