About a dozen activists gathered Saturday at a Chicago train station to protest the planned release of Jason Van Dyke, the former police officer who killed Laquan McDonald. Van Dyke, who was sentenced to 81 months in prison, is scheduled for release Feb. 3. Community activist William Calloway thinks the ex-cop who was found guilty of killing the 17-year-old in 2014 should remain behind bars. Calloway and others are calling for U.S. Attorney John Lausch to bring federal charges against Van Dyke, reports the Chicago Tribune. “You got a white man that murdered a boy, shooting him 16 times in cold blood on camera,” Calloway said. “And the federal government has not even touched him. That’s not justice. That’s racism. We got to call it what it is.”
Rev. Marvin Hunter, McDonald’s great-uncle, said he did not agree with the protest’s aim. Activists’ time would be better spent working for systemic change, he said. “Getting Jason Van Dyke to go to jail, to federal prison, at best it will only cost the taxpayers more money,” he said. “ … If we really want to have change, if we really want to use this for a moment for change, then let us get criminal justice reform for real.” Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke only on the second-degree murder conviction — not the 16 counts of aggravated battery of which he was also found guilty. The decision allowed for a lower sentencing range and the opportunity for day-for-day credit, meaning Van Dyke only had to serve half his 81-month sentence.