Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced Friday to nearly seven years in prison for the 2014 murder of Laquan McDonald a 17-year-old black teen who was fatally shot 16 times.
McDonald was reported to have been behaving erratically while walking down the street and holding a folding knife with a three-inch (7.5 cm) blade. Initially, internal police reports described the incident similarly and ruled the shooting justified and Van Dyke was not charged in the shooting at that time.
When the police released a dash cam video of the shooting thirteen months later, on November 24, 2015, it showed McDonald had been walking away from the police when he was shot.
After a trial in October, Van Dyke was found guilty of murder as well as 16 counts of aggravated battery one charge for each shot he fired at McDonald.
McDonald's family lamented that the penalty was too light. His great uncle said the sentence reduced Laquan McDonald's life to that of "a second-class citizen" and "suggests to us that there are no laws on the books for a black man that a white man is bound to honor."
One of Van Dyke's defense lawyers, Daniel Herbert, told reporters the former officer was happy with the verdict.
"He truly felt great," Herbert said after talking with his client for a few minutes. "(But) he's certainly not happy about going to jail. He's not happy about missing his family, but he's happy about the prospect of life ahead of him."
In connection with the case, three other officers accused of covering up details about the teen's murder were acquitted from the charges Thursday as authorities failed to provide proof that the men had intentionally misled investigators.