Jason Van Dyke, the former Chicago police officer convicted of second-degree murder in the fatal 2014 shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, will be released from prison next month, according to state prison records obtained by WGN Investigates.
The Illinois Prisoner Review Board — the body that handles parole for Illinois inmates — granted Van Dyke’s release in September 2021, records show.
A spokesperson for Van Dyke’s attorney said the release would occur on Feb. 3, though records from the prisoner review board list Van Dyke’s mandatory supervised release date as Feb. 8.
Marvin Hunter, McDonald’s uncle and pastor of Grace Memorial Baptist Church, said he was notified this week of Van Dyke’s upcoming release.
“This gentleman has done the time that the government gave him,” Hunter said. “While I do not agree with the sentence, in order to stay a civilized nation we have to honor the judge.
“I do not think he should ever be a police officer again, but jail is for rehab and not recycling. I hope he was rehabbed,” he added.
Van Dyke, 43, was sentenced to 81 months in prison in January 2019, though his physical location has remained, largely, unknown.
Records from the board say that Van Dyke was, as of September 2021, held in a downstate prison. However, a spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Corrections said last week that he was not in IDOC custody.
“Jason Van Dyke remains under the jurisdiction of the Illinois Department of Corrections, but is not in our custody,” IDOC spokeswoman Lindsey Hess said in an emailed statement. “For safety and security purposes, the Department does not discuss details concerning the placement of individuals who have transferred under the terms of the Interstate Corrections Compact Agreement.”
Joe McMahon, the former Kane County State’s Attorney who served as special prosecutor in Van Dyke’s case, said last week that he also did not know where Van Dyke was held.