Former Chicago police officer sentenced to prison in 2014 shooting death

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CHICAGO (AP) -- A judge has sentenced former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke to nearly seven years in prison in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Judge Vincent Gaughan's sentence of six years and nine months in prison Friday came a day after another judge acquitted three other officers of trying to cover up the shooting to protect Van Dyke.

Van Dyke shot McDonald 16 times, including after the 17-year-old was on the ground and barely moving. A jury convicted him in October of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery -- one for each shot.

The case went largely unnoticed until the city was forced to release police dashcam video 13 months after it happened. The video sparked large protests and led to the ouster of Chicago's top police official and some department reforms.

The 40-year-old Van Dyke is believed to be the first Chicago officer convicted in a fatal on-duty shooting of an African-American.
Former Chicago police office Jason Van Dyke has told the judge who will sentence him that "The last thing I wanted to do was shoot Laquan McDonald"

Van Dyke spoke briefly Friday after more than a dozen character witnesses testified and after his attorneys and prosecutors summed up their cases.

The former officer didn't testify before a jury convicted him in October of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery -- one for each time he shot the black teenager.

Van Dyke said Friday that he has "prayed daily for the soul of Laquan McDonald."

Special Prosecutor Joseph McMahon said Friday while summing up the state's case that Van Dyke's 2014 shooting of the 17-year-old has been "devastating" not just for Chicago but for the entire nation because it has further deepened the public's distrust in the police.

A jury convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery -- one for each time the officer shot McDonald.