Saturday, January 19, 2019

Everybody upset w/ Van Dyke verdict

I suspect there was a moment, however brief, of joy when Judge Vincent Gaughan said “81 …,” giving people the impression that a former Chicago cop convicted of the shooting death of a 17-year-old black teen was about to put the 40-year-old cop away to rot in prison for life.
VAN DYKE: Nearly 7 years

But then, Gaughan continued with “… months,” not years.

AS IN GAUGHAN decided that his prison term will only last a period of just under seven years – of which he’s already served three months in the county jail out in Rock Island, Ill.

Considering that the family of Laquan McDonald came out and said Friday that they thought a prison term of at least 20 years was essential for Van Dyke to be properly punished.

And, in fact, prosecutors themselves made a recommendation of an 18- to 20-year prison term for Van Dyke.

But Gaughan ultimately chose to concoct a prison term based off the fact that Van Dyke was found guilty of a second-degree murder charge, and not to factor in all those additional counts of aggravated battery with a firearm – which in theory could have made for a prison term of nearly 100 years possible.

“A JOKE AND a slap in the face,” along with a slew of obscenities, was the reaction of McDonald’s family to the prison sentence after the sentence was handed down following a day-long sentencing hearing that occurred Friday.
McDONALD: Gone nearly as long as Van Dyke

But Gaughan made a point of saying he figured “100 percent” of people were going to be offended by his sentence. I don’t doubt that, because Van Dyke’s family made emotional pleas saying they have already suffered severely by the loss of Jason to incarceration for any length of time.

As it was, they argued that a sentence of probation would have been appropriate. Which I don’t doubt was an idea of great offense to the McDonald family. As it was, Laquan’s uncle read a letter into the record on Friday that was written as though it was crafted by McDonald himself.

Telling us that he was trying to make something of his life, give up his drug addictions, and that Van Dyke, by firing the 16 shots into his body, deprived him of that opportunity.
GAUGHAN: Upset 100 percent of people

THERE IS ONE thing that has to be conceded – it could have gone much worse for Van Dyke. He’ll be about 46 years old when he is released from prison. In short, he has a chance to put together a “rest of his life.” Even though I don’t doubt he’ll view the next six or so years as the most hellish experience he’ll ever have to endure.

It’s not going to be a pretty experience for a law enforcement officer. But some people see this whole Van Dyke ordeal as being about making police suffer.

If anything, they’re even more upset by the ruling earlier this week that three police officers facing criminal charges for filing false reports about what it was Van Dyke did to McDonald were NOT guilty.

There are those who wanted Van Dyke to rot in prison, and see a complete crackdown on the Chicago Police Department. Anything short of that is going to cause them to feel nothing but contempt for our legal system.

THEN AGAIN, THERE probably is nothing that would please those individuals. Some people get way too hung up on the concept of retribution. Even though what we as a society ought to be trying to do is figure out the way to move beyond this incident.
McCARTHY: Would win be seen as police victory?

Because the reality of the whole affair is that there’s nothing that can be done to bring Laquan McDonald back to life. There’s nothing that will restore the type of life that Jason Van Dyke had, or will protect his family from the harm they’re suffering as a result of what happened on that October night of 2014.

Of course, there could be one coming blow in the near future that would further “rub it in” the very notion that law enforcement is protecting itself, and NOT the public. What happens if Garry McCarthy somehow wins the mayoral election of February and run-off of April?

For McCarthy was the police superintendent who lost his job because of Van Dyke’s actions. Would the people eager to protect the police image be strong enough to make him our city’s mayor?


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