For 3 years, I watched my peers fight for justice throughout the city and they have finally been served what they asked for: A CONVICTED MURDER.
On Friday, the ex-Officer, Van Dyke was found guilty of second degree murder and 16 Counts of aggravated battery with a firearm; for every bullet he fired into Laquan’s Estate (body), as adduced by the judge. He was found not guilty on official misconduct of office. Dyke’s bond was revoked and sentencing has been scheduled for October 31.
Three officers have been charged with conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and official misconduct: Officer Thomas Gaffney, former Detective David March, and ex-officer Joseph Walsh (Van Dyke’s partner). Prosecutors alleged that the three lied in reports about 17-year old, Laquan McDonald, being a threat October 20, 2014.
This is a victory not only for the city of Chicago but for Black America. I learned a lot from my peers and their journey in fighting for justice for Laquan. I learned that we don’t have to agree on everything but what we do agree on is we want change for ourselves and community; we can accomplish a great deal when we stand up for what we believe in and that we are here to make change.
What they have done for the city is remarkable: Mayor won’t be running for second election, superintendent was fired, and local prosecutor lost her bid for reelection, as reported by NY TImes. They are working on upcoming elections, Black Caucus and the morally corrupt alderman(s).
Looking Forward to Sentencing, logically.
I am happy for the verdict and my peers, but “we” must be logical about how he was convicted and not emotional about the ordeal. I performed some research on criminal laws and doctrines related to the case. I also critically examined the communication disseminated by media.
I am not a lawyer nor a judge. I am an independent journalist and scholar, my duty and responsibility is to examine cases critically with logic and supporting facts.
Breaking it down, charge by charge.
According to the Illinois State Laws, second degree murder carries the sentencing between four (4) to twenty (20) years and is charged as a Class 1 felony. “Depending on the leniency of the judge and the circumstances of the crime, a four-year probation term instead of prison may be an option. The maximum fine is $25,000 plus a surcharge of $3,125. Upon release from prison, there is a mandatory two year parole period.”
In regards to the aggravated assault and battery, according to the Illinois General Assembly, if committed with a dangerous instrument, it is defined in subdivision as a Class X felony which a person can be sentenced to imprisonment a minimum of 6 years to a max of 45 years.
Excerpt from Illinois General Assembly
Aggravated battery as defined in subdivision (e)(1) is a Class X felony.
Aggravated battery as defined in subdivision (a)(2) is a Class X felony for which a person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of a minimum of 6 years and a maximum of 45 years.
Aggravated battery as defined in subdivision (e)(5) is a Class X felony for which a person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of a minimum of 12 years and a maximum of 45 years.
Aggravated battery as defined in subdivision (e)(2), (e)(3), or (e)(4) is a Class X felony for which a person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of a minimum of 15 years and a maximum of 60 years.
Aggravated battery as defined in subdivision (e)(6), (e)(7), or (e)(8) is a Class X felony for which a person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of 60 years.
Aggravated battery as defined in subdivision (b)(1) is a Class X felony, except that:
(1) if the person committed the offense while armed
with a firearm, 15 years shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court; (2) if, during the commission of the offense, the
person personally discharged a firearm, 20 years shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court; (3) if, during the commission of the offense, the
person personally discharged a firearm that proximately caused great bodily harm, permanent disability, permanent disfigurement, or death to another person, 25 years or up to a term of natural life shall be added to the term of imprisonment imposed by the court.
Illinois One Act, One Crime Doctrine
Former Will County Prosector, Jack Zaremba’s Law Office states “a criminal defendant can only be convicted of one crime that corresponds to a particular action, even if that action could constitute more than one offense.”
Which means that he will be sentenced for both charges; possibly serving the minimum imprisonment time or probation; the 16 counts of aggravated battery not holding much weight, can be combined and considered one act for sentencing. Let’s not forget this is a first offense for him and that we must consider if the judge will be lenient or not.
His time will more than likely not be consecutive but concurrent.
Did we really get justice?
Illinois Assault and Battery Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://statelaws.findlaw.com/illinois-law/illinois-assault-and-battery-laws.html
Illinois General Assembly – Illinois Compiled Statutes. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=072000050K12-3.05
Illinois Second Degree Murder Laws. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://statelaws.findlaw.com/illinois-law/illinois-second-degree-murder-laws.html
One Act, One Crime Doctrine. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://zarembalawoffice.com/blogs/one-act-one-crime-doctrine