Former cop Jason Van Dyke, convicted in Laquan McDonald’s murder, gets prison transfer

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A former Chicago police officer convicted in the high-profile murder of a teenager has been moved to a New York federal prison a month after he was beaten at a penitentiary in Connecticut, according to his legal team.

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Jason Van Dyke was recently moved to the Federal Correctional Institution in Otisville , about 75 miles northwest of New York City, a spokesperson for his lawyers told ABC station WLS-TV in Chicago.

The move came after Van Dyke, 40, was beaten in his cell, suffering injuries to his head and face, on Feb. 7 at a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut, his wife and lawyers said at a news conference last month.

Antonio Perez/Getty Images, FILE
Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke enters the courtroom for his sentencing hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building, Jan. 18, 2019, in Chicago.

It was not immediately clear why Van Dyke was transferred, although his lawyers notified the Federal Bureau of Prisons that they and his wife were concerned for his safety at the Connecticut prison.

In October, Van Dyke was convicted in the killing of Laquan McDonald, an African-American teenager.

The Cook County Circuit Court jury found Van Dyke guilty on charges of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm stemming from the 2014 incident in which the former officer fired 16 shots at the 17-year-old McDonald in a span of 15 seconds.

During his trial, Van Dyke testified that he believed McDonald was coming at him with a knife.

Video released of the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting showed McDonald was armed with a knife but the teen didn’t appear to be moving toward the police officers who responded when Van Dyke opened fire.

He was sentenced in January to less than seven years in prison, prompting anger from McDonald’s family and Chicago community activists who said the punishment was too lenient for the crime.

Van Dyke’s wife, Tiffany, said during a news conference on Feb. 14 that she fears for her husband’s life every waking minute.

“They put my husband in a setting to be harmed because of the fact he was a white man who harmed a black gentleman in the line of duty,” Tiffany Van Dyke said at the time.

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