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Former Chicago police officer, convicted of second degree murder, beaten in Danbury prison

 

CHICAGO — WGNTV – Former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, has been moved out of an Illinois prison and taken to Connecticut.

Van Dyke, 40, is in the low security Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, about an hour outside of New York City, as he serves his six-year and nine-month sentence for the fatal shooting.

Those close to Van Dyke said he was beaten up at the Connecticut facility. Sources said the beating happened within three hours of him arriving at the facility. No further information was immediately provided on the incident.

WGN has not been able to confirm why the former officer was transferred to Connecticut.

In October, Van Dyke was being held at Rock Island County Jail near the Illinois-Iowa border. At the time, Cara Smith, the chief police officer for Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said he was transferred after it was “determined this was the best housing assignment for him and the jail compound as a whole.”

While Van Dyke has long been considered a "high profile detainee" there have also been other notable inmates who have spent time in a Danbury prison cell.

Leona Helmsley, the hotel tycoon who got 21 months for tax evasion back in the 90s, was an inmate at the prison. In 1985, Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, was there for under a year for tax troubles. Grammy award winning singer and actress Lauryn Hill got three months at the FCI Danbury for not filing taxes at all at one point.

About 1,000 inmates reside at the Danbury facility.

Van Dyke's wife, Tiffany Van Dyke, said her greatest fear was that her husband would not survive the prison system, and that he would be targeted, potentially by other inmates, because he was a white cop who shot a black teen 16 times.

A press conference will be held Thursday with more information about the incident.

Van Dyke was convicted in October 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the October 2014 slaying of McDonald.

He was the first Chicago police officer in 50 years to be charged with murder for an on-duty incident. He shot McDonald 16 times after a truck driver called 911 to report McDonald in a locked truck lot near 41st Street and Pulaski Road. The 17-year-old was armed with a 3-inch knife and high on PCP.

Video of the shooting, which was released via court order in November 2015, sparked massive protests and prompted federal and local investigations.

 

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