Ex-Chicago police officer no longer fighting to overturn murder conviction in Laquan McDonald’s death

An Illinois appellate court has granted a request to drop the appeal from the former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, convicted in the 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald.

Jason Van Dyke was convicted in 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for fatally shooting McDonald, 17, and was sentenced to more than six years in person.

“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.

Van Dyke’s attorney filed a motion to drop his appeal last month.

Attorney Jennifer Blagg said Van Dyke decided to withdraw his appeal because he is trying to move on with his life, according to The Associated Press.

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

The decision was announced Friday by the Kane County State’s Attorney Joe McMahon, who was appointed to prosecute the controversial case.

McDonald was shot 16 times as he walked away after officers responded to a call that he was carrying a knife and breaking into cars in the city’s Southwest Side.

The fatal shooting sparked protests. McDonald is Black, and Van Dyke is white.

Chicago’s police superintendent, Garry McCarthy, was fired in 2015, one week after dashcam video of the deadly encounter was released.

Chicago had resisted sharing the video footage, which shows Van Dyke hitting McDonald 16 times and contradicts the police’s original description of McDonald as lunging toward officers. A judge forced the city to release the video.

Van Dyke at his trial testified that he feared for his life. The dashcam footage showed that Van Dyke was moving toward McDonald, while the teenager was veering away from officers in the middle of the street.

Under Illinois law, Van Dyke likely will serve about half the sentence, the Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a statement Friday.

Prosecutors had sought at least 18 years in prison.

Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and McMahon filed a petition with the state Supreme Court to review whether the law was followed when the sentence was handed down.