Van Dyke ends effort to overturn McDonald murder conviction

CHICAGO (AP) — The former Chicago police officer imprisoned for the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald on Friday ended an effort to overturn his conviction.

An Illinois appellate court allowed Jason Van Dyke to withdraw his appeal, meaning he will serve out his sentence without further court proceedings.

Van Dyke’s attorney filed a motion with the court Sept. 29, 2020, asking that his appeal be dropped. Attorney Jennifer Blagg said Van Dyke decided to withdraw his appeal because he’s trying to move on with his life.

“He thought it was in the best interest of all the parties involved, including the McDonald family, that there be some finality,” Blagg said.

Van Dyke was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in McDonald’s killing. He was sentenced to six years, nine months in prison.

Kane County State’s Attorney Joseph McMahon was appointed special prosecutor in the Van Dyke case.

“Mr. Van Dyke’s decision prevents additional years of litigation, bringing finality to the thorough prosecution of this case in which his rights were protected and justice was served,” McMahon said in a statement.

McMahon and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul appealed Van Dyke’s sentence, contending it didn’t match the severity of the crime. The Illinois Supreme Court last year let the sentence stand, offering no explanation of its decision.

Van Dyke shot McDonald in October 2014 as the 17-year-old walked away from police on a Southwest Side street while holding a knife. Video of Van Dyke firing 16 shots at McDonald prompted protests, a U.S. Justice Department investigation of the Chicago Police Department and the firing of the police superintendent, among other changes.

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For the AP’s complete coverage of the Jason Van Dyke case: https://apnews.com/tag/LaquanMcDonald

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