Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, 43, will be released on Feb. 3 after serving three years in prison for the killing of Laquan Mcdonald in 2014. While his death sparked local and national protests, activists called for federal charges against Van Dyke.
According to FOX 32, the ex-cop is being released early on good behavior, sources said.
In 2018, Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. Each criminal count represented one bullet fired at 17-year-old McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014. He was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison and transported from a federal prison in Upstate New York in November 2019. Van Dyke has relocated to three different prison locations since his sentencing. After he was jailed in the Quad Cities of Iowa and Illinois, he was moved to a federal prison in Connecticut. Due to safety issues, he was then transferred to Otisville prison in New York, NBC 5 reported.
Van Dyke’s dashcam video the night McDonald was killed displayed a graphic image, leaving many questioning law enforcement policies regarding race and the “code of silence.”
Now that the former Chicago officer will soon be a free man, community activists and faith leaders are calling for the Chicago Transit Authority to shut down to protest against Van Dyke’s release. The group is demanding that he face federal charges for violating McDonald’s civil rights, ABC 7 reported.
William Calloway, Lashawn Littrice, and a coalition of local activists are calling for Jason Van Dyke to be prosecuted on federal civil rights charges. They’re demanding CTA labor leadership to stop all bus and train lines on February 3rd, Van Dyke’s release date. pic.twitter.com/AmxKfHVY1a
— Charles Preston (@_CharlesPreston) January 15, 2022
“We want Local 241 and Local 308 — the trains and the buses — we want them to stand with us. We want them to stand in solidarity with us,” said community activist William Calloway.
Calloway, who helped release the dashcam video to the public, is concerned that the bus unions may not participate in the 16-day shutdown, representing the 16 bullets that contributed to the 17-year-old’s death.
Several community members reacted to Van Dyke’s initial sentencing and his pending release next month.
“That’s not a slap in our face. That’s a spit in our face,” said Camiella Williams with Good Kids Mad City.
After serving his sentence out of state, the 43-year-old will likely be paroled in Chicago.
“I can’t speak for Jason, but I know what kind of person he is, and I think he just wants to live his life,” said Jennifer Blagg, Van Dyke’s attorney.
The proposed boycott falls on the eve of civil rights activist Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.
“We know the power of boycotts. We know the power of sit-ins. We know the power of marching,” said Bishop Tavis Grant with the Rainbow Push Coalition.
The activists also call politicians of color to press the U.S. Attorney of the Northern Illinois District to indict Van Dyke.