BREAKING: A judge has sentenced Jason Van Dyke to 81 months for his conviction in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald. Judge Vincent Gaughan's sentence translates to a sentence of nearly seven years in jail. He says Van Dyke must serve a minimum of two years in prison, before considering probation.
A sentencing hearing for Jason Van Dyke began Friday, more than three months after the former Chicago officer was convicted in the shooting death of Laquan McDonald.
Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated battery in a trial last year, faces anywhere from probation to more than 96 years in prison as both sides state their positions in a court filing this week.
His defense team has argued the case falls under a "one crime, one act" doctrine, which states that he can only be sentenced for one charge since they each fall under the same criminal act.
They requested the judge only sentence Van Dyke for second-degree murder, which could pave a way for the minimum sentence of probation.
The prosecution has argued the "one crime, one act" doctrine would require the judge to sentence Van Dyke on the more serious criminal act, which they say is aggravated battery. This charge does not have probation as an option.
In their court filing, defense attorneys requested that if the judge sentences Van Dyke for second-degree murder, he give the ex-officer probation. Should the judge sentence Van Dyke on charges of aggravated battery, the defense asked for the "minimum statutory term of imprisonment required," which would mean six years.
Prosecutors are seeking a six-year sentence for each of the 16 counts of aggravated battery Van Dyke was convicted of in October. That marks a total of 96 years.
However, the prosecution noted that in court Van Dyke's defense presented evidence that only two of the 16 shots fired were fatal. Should the judge decide to sentence Van Dyke on only those charges, they have asked for six years for each "triggering offense" and an additional six years for the remaining 14 counts. That would make for a minimum sentence of 18 years.
Van Dyke is set to be sentenced by Judge Vincent Gaughan Friday following a years-long saga in the case.
Van Dyke was convicted on Oct. 5 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the fatal shooting of McDonald. The long-awaited verdict came almost exactly four years after Van Dyke shot 17-year-old McDonald 16 times on the city's Southwest Side.
Dashcam video showing the shooting shook the city and the nation, sparking massive protests and calls for justice.
Follow along live from the courtroom above and below.
5:29 p.m.: Immediately following the judge's sentence and recess, Van Dyke was led out of the courtroom.
5:28 p.m.: Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been sentenced 81 months to for his conviction of second-degree murder in the killing of Laquan McDonald. Judge Gaughan's sentence translates to a sentence of nearly seven years in jail. He says Van Dyke must serve a minimum of two years in prison, before considering probation.
5:26 p.m.: Judge Gaughan says: "Is it more serious that Laquan McDonald be shot by a firearm, or be murdered by a firearm?" Therefore he says he will sentence Van Dyke on second-degree murder.
5:26 p.m.: Actually, says Judge Gaughan, the sentencing guidelines for both convictions overlap, and he cites several previous Illinois cases in which both convictions were considered.
5:23 p.m.: Judge Gaughan notes that second-degree murder recently had its sentencing guidelines increased, to allow for more years in jail. "You have to analyze the individual case," he says.
5:21 p.m.: He points out that the jury in this case had to first decide that Jason Van Dyke was guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt, of first degree murder. Then they could consider mitigating circumstances that would later reduce the conviction to second-degree murder.
5:20 p.m.: Judge Gaughan begins his decision, talking about which count he will be considering, in his sentencing of Jason Van Dyke.
5:19 p.m.: "There is no constitutional right to disrupt the court," Judge Gaughan says. "This is going national on TV. We're going to let them see how outstanding the individual citizens of this city are."
5:18 p.m.: Court is back in session now. Once again, Judge Gaughan is panning the audience with the television camera, to record everyone there, in case of any kind of disruption.
5:18 p.m.: Meanwhile, people in the overflow continue to monitor weather reports to see what they'll be facing, once they leave the Cook County Criminal Courts building after the sentencing.
5:16 p.m.: It is expected that -- once Judge Vincent Gaughan reconvenes his courtroom -- he will first announce which of the two convictions (second-degree murder versus aggravated battery) he has decided to rule on, and then he will pronounce his sentence.
5:10 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke told the court that he prays daily for the soul of Laquan McDonald. The audio transmission during Van Dyke's closing statement was a bit muffled, but that appeared to be the only mention of McDonald's name, in Van Dyke's prepared remarks to the judge.
5:09 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke continues to read his written statement: "No one wants to take someone's life, even in defense of their own." Then Van Dyke sits down, and the judge calls a "short recess."
5:09 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke, in his statement to the court, describes the McDonald shooting as the "worst day of [his] life." He is reading his statement directly from a piece of paper, not looking up.
5:08 p.m.: O'Brien concludes by appealing to the judge, once again, for a minimum sentence. Now the judge offers Van Dyke the opportunity to make a statement, and he agrees.
5:07 p.m.: "Prison is a terrible place for anybody to go," Darren O'Brien says. "But it's doubly or triply or quadruplely terrible for a police officer."
5:06 p.m.: "The imprisonment of the defendant would entail excessive hardship," on Jason Van Dyke's family, O'Brien argues, and he asks the court to consider all ttestimony about Van Dyke's character, from friends and family, as well as the commendations Van Dyke received in his career.
5:05 p.m.: "Those [mitigating] factors scream out for probation in this case," attorney O'Brien tells Judge Vincent Gaughan.
5:04 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's attorney Darren O'Brien argues that the officer was "responding to a call for help," on the night of Laquan McDonald's shooting -- an example, he says, of a police officer running towards danger instead of away -- which he maintains is a mitigating factor.
5:02 p.m.: Attorney Darren O'Brien argues that "Mr. Van Dyke was not the aggressor," in the shooting of Laquan McDonald. "Mr. Van Dyke did not start" the confrontation with McDonald that night.
5:00 p.m.: Now Darren O'Brien, one of Jason Van Dyke's attorneys, is arguing that their client should be sentenced on his conviction of second-degree murder (which includes the possibility of a sentence of probation only).
4:58 p.m.: "The shooting of Laquan McDonald sixteen times," prosecutor Joseph McMahon says -- "that's what we're asking you to sentence him on." Remember that Jason Van Dyke's conviction on aggravated battery requires a sentence of jail time, unlike the conviction on second-degree murder.
4:57 p.m.: Giving former CPD officer Jason Van Dyke probation, only, "would send the wrong message to this community," prosecutor Joseph McMahon tells Judge Vincent Gaughan, in his closing arguments asking for years of prison time for the former officer.
4:56 p.m.: Prosecutor Vincent McMahon notes that people are sent to jail every day, and former police officer Jason Van Dyke "should be, and must be, held to the same standard" as all other defendants. "Probation is absolutely not appropriate," he adds.
4:55 p.m.: McMahon acknowledges that "it is difficult to sit and listen to the ... pain that the Van Dyke family is going through." But their struggles "are caused by the actions of their husband, their father, their son," McMahon says.
4:54 p.m.: McMahon brings up the testimony of four of the witnesses who spoke, earlier today, about their encounters with Jason Van Dyke in past years -- all of which started with routine traffic stops. Three out of four ended in physical attacks and "young men being taken to jail."
4:53 p.m.: "His conduct has been devastating to the CPD as well," McMahon tells the court. Van Dyke's conduct was so egregious, he says, that it will affect the entire Chicago Police Department.
4:53 p.m.: "Jason Van Dyke's conduct has been devastating" to Laquan McDonald's family, prosecutor McMahon tells the court. "But his devastation goes well beyond" the victim's family. "Jason Van Dyke's conduct has been devastating to the entire community," in Chicago and across the country.
4:51 p.m.: Now court begins to hear closing arguments concerning the sentencing phase, beginning with lead prosecutor Joseph McMahon. "From the beginning, this case has been devastating," McMahon begins. The one common element, he says, is Jason Van Dyke.
4:49 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's 12-year-old daughter, in a letter which defense attorneys are reading to the judge in court: "My dad is my everything .... I need my dad in my life."
4:48 p.m.: The defense is reading a letter to the court, from Jason Van Dyke's 12-year-old daughter. "People come up to me and say my dad is a murderer. ... I have trouble sleeping at night because my dad may have to go away for a long time." "I love my dad more than words can say."
4:46 p.m.: Court is now back in session. Judge Gaughan says he'll hear final arguments on the penalty portion; then Jason Van Dyke will have the opportunity to speak. Then the judge says he'll take a "very brief" recess and come back with his sentencing decision.
4:38 p.m.: In the meantime, the discussion among the spectators and press, watching the trial from the "overflow" courtroom, is split into two distinct subjects: Van Dyke's impending sentencing, and the Chicago area's impending snowstorm.
4:40 p.m.: Speculation among the reporters in the overflow room is that -- when court re-convenes -- Judge Vincent Gaughan will hear closing arguments, and then -- after that -- give Jason Van Dyke an opportunity to speak on his own behalf. That is not confirmed, however.
4:26 p.m.: Court is now in recess, after the defense said it had no more mitigating witnesses. It is unclear, however, if that means that Jason Van Dyke will or will not address the court on his own behalf, once court is back in session.
4:23 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke to the McDonald family: "We pray every day for this family...For my family and your family and for all of Chicago to have peace."
Tiffany Van Dyke looks directly at Judge Vincent Gaughan and says her husband "has paid the ultimate price... His life is over... Please, please. He has paid the price already... My heart and soul are broken. He has paid the ultimate price.
"I just beg for the least amount of time -- if not probation -- for my husband," Tiffany Van Dyke tells the judge, as her husband sits at the defendant's table with his head bowed.
4:21 p.m.: "I fear I will never see him again," Tiffany Van Dyke says about her husband going to prison - he will miss graduations and weddings. "I go to bed every day praying that he is safe, and praying that he will come home."
4:20 p.m.: If Jason Van Dyke is sent to prison, his wife Tiffany says through tears, "my biggest fear is that somebody would kill him, for something that he did as a police officer. There was no malice, no hatred that night. It was simply a man doing his job."
4:19 p.m.: Beyond his family, his marriage, and his children, Tiffany Van Dyke says her husband's proudest moment was the day he became a police officer. "He knew he wanted to serve and protect," she testifies in court. "Unfortunately, that will never happen again."
4:18 p.m.: "I was afraid, every day coming in to this courthouse, that somebody was going to shoot and kill my husband," Tiffany Van Dyke tells the court of her daily treks to Cook County Criminal Court during her husband's trial for the murder of Laquan McDonald.
She says her two children are in court today "because it will be the last time they see there father," if he is sent to prison, and "they want to be there for him, 100 percent."
4:16 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke describes coming into court every day, during her husband's trial last fall. "Calling him all these vile things, over and over again, repeatedly," she says, was "very shocking to me. It broke my heart."
4:15 p.m.: "The last name 'Van Dyke' is not a name that goes well within the city of Chicago," Tiffany Van Dyke tells the judge, in her husband's sentencing hearing. Van Dyke's wife says at one point she was hired for a job but was then immediately pulled off, "because of my last name."
4:13 p.m.: "We both agreed the only thing that mattered was to keep our home, to make sure our children had a roof over their head," Tiffany Van Dyke tells the court. "I live day for day, dollar for dollar, just like everybody else. I fight for everything I have."
Jason Van Dyke's wife Tiffany says one of her daughters loved dance and dance classes, but "unfortunately that comes with a big price tag," so she no longer dances.
4:11 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke tells the court about her family's finances: "It's tragic. It is not easy by any means." She says her husband worked 2-3 jobs in order to support the family, and now she -- as the main breadwinner -- has had to close her business, in fear for her safety.
4:09 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's wife says her daughters have been bullied in school, and her oldest daughter has had notes written to her saying "16 shots." She worries that her younger daughter may be cornered and beaten. "They have paid the price," she tells the court.
Tiffany Van Dyke says the family cannot move their daughters to private schools, because they do not have the money.
4:08 p.m.: "Both of my daughters are very heartbroken ... he was the first person to hold them when they were born." Crying, Tiffany Van Dyke says "he is their absolute everything."
4:08 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke says she spends a minimum of $400 to $500 on phone calls, in order to be able to talk to her husband and have her children talk to her husband.
4:07 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke on life today: "I think of Jason. He's my first thought. .... You just go day, through day," hoping to speak to her husband for one phonecall a day. She says her children also speak to Van Dyke on the phone.
4:06 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke: "He's a great father and a wonderful husband. He was also a dedicated officer to the Chicago Police Department. They have lost a great officer."
"My life has been a nightmare ... I cannot sleep without my husband in bed next to me ..... My heart is broken."
4:05 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke, Jason Van Dyke's wife, says she has recently secured a job that brings her health coverage, since her family lost their health insurance following Van Dyke's arrest.
"My husband is my everything," Tiffany Van Dyke says. "He is my other half. He's my heart."
4:04 p.m.: Tiffany Van Dyke says she and Jason Van Dyke met when they worked together -- "then came marriage, children." They've been married for 17 years.
4:03 p.m.: McMahon abruptly stops questioning FOP President Graham, and the defense moves to its next witness: Tiffany Van Dyke, Jason Van Dyke's wife.
4:01 p.m.: Prosecutor Joseph McMahon is now cross-examining FOP President Kevin Graham: "Before the killing of Laquan McDonald, there were problems within the community as it related to the CPD, correct?" Graham agrees.
McMahon: "When Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan McDonald, that act significantly further-eroded the fragile trust between the community and the CPD, correct?" Graham: "No, that's not correct."
4:00 p.m.: Kevin Graham, FOP President, on Van Dyke: "I've seen him at FOP, by himself, pray. I know that it bothers him that a life was taken. I know that if justice is served, he will not get a long sentence."
3:58 p.m.: "How are we supposed to defend ourselves" in the wake of the Van Dyke conviction, FOP President Kevin Graham says other officers have asked him. He says other officers are now "far more careful" on the street "because they don't want to be in [Van Dyke's] shoes."
3:57 p.m.: "I haven't heard one person say a bad word about him," FOP President Kevin Graham says of convicted former police officer Jason Van Dyke. During Van Dyke's employment at FOP, he made sure people who visited there were well taken care of, Graham says.
3:56 p.m.: Officer Graham says he has gotten to know Jason Van Dyke over the past three years. "I think I'm a fairly good judge of character," says Graham. Van Dyke "is a quality individual who cares about society, and cares about the other people he works with."
3:54 p.m.: Next witness for the defense is Kevin Graham, Chicago Police officer and current president of the Chicago section of the Fraternal Order of Police.
3:52 p.m.: Owen Van Dyke reads from his written statement about his son, in his effort to help mitigate the sentence of Jason Van Dyke. "Police officers run towards trouble," he tells the court. No cross examination.
3:52 p.m.: Owen Van Dyke, speaking about his son Jason: "I stand by my son as my father stood behind me."
3:50 p.m.: Owen Van Dyke reads from a letter he has written for the court, about his son. "Jason's not the person described by prosecutors," and he describes several achievements of Van Dyke's through his childhood and school years.
3:50 p.m.: The defense's next witness -- for potential mitigation of the sentence -- is Owen Van Dyke -- Jason Van Dyke's father.
3:49 p.m.: "Jason will never be a police officer again, or will never be able to be able to hold a gun. .... His life and reputation is gone in the blink of an eye. I would the court to consider all that he has lost, already, and what his family has gone through," Van Dyke's sister says.
3:45 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's sister describes the threats and bullying which she says Van Dyke's daughters have endured at school, include threats of being shot.
3:42 p.m.: "Jason is a rule-follower, never got into trouble," his sister testifies in court. He was punctual and followed rules and procedures "like clockwork." "There's [now] a huge difference in Jason since this case became public," she says. "He's become withdrawn."
Jason Van Dyke's sister says that when he came back home after being in jail briefly after he was found guilty, "he went into a deep depression," and did not come out of his room for several days.
3:40 p.m.: Van Dyke took his girls to father-daughter dances, his sister says. He taught his oldest daughter how to dance. "He's always there for his girls. He's always there to give him advice."
3:39 p.m.: Van Dyke's sister says, "for me, Jason was a role model when he became a parent. ... When something [difficult] would happen, he would just take a deep breath" and handle every situation "calmly and rationally." "Family is is number one" priority, his sister says.
3:38 p.m.: She says she and Van Dyke were close growing up. "When this happened, everything changed. He's not the same person." She cites a boy who grew up down the street from them, who had Down Syndrome, and points out that Van Dyke had a good friendship with him.
3:37 p.m.: The defense tells Judge Gaughan that they have four more "mitigating" witnesses, beginning with Heidi Cauffenger, who is Jason Van Dyke's sister.
3:35 p.m.: On cross-examination, Thompson says he thinks of Van Dyke not as a brother-in-law, but as a brother. No other questions from either the defense or the prosecution.
3:34 p.m.: "The way [Van Dyke] has been ridiculed in the media, as a racist cop, as a killer. ... He's been portrayed that way, but he demanded respect and he also gave respect. That's how he was.
"I ask the court to consider everything that [Van Dyke] has already lost," Thompson tells the judge, and says he hopes for probation so that Van Dyke can be home with his family, "where he deserves to be."
3:33 p.m.: Brother-in-law Keith Thompson on Van Dyke's family: "His girls are like my daughters; I treat them like my own." Thompson says Van Dyke asked that Thompson help take care of his daughters while he is incarcerated.
3:32 p.m.: Thompson on Van Dyke: "A gentle giant. He's the one who can calm down a situation and talks everybody down."
3:30 p.m.: The defense's next "mitigating" witness is Keith Thompson, who is Jason Van Dyke's brother-in-law. Their wives are sisters, and he has known Van Dyke for more than 13 years.
"We began as great friends; we have a lot in common, our girls are best friends," Thompson says of his and Van Dyke's families. "He's a great father; he's a standup man; he provides; he protects, he does whatever he can; he's a great father," Thompson says of Van Dyke.
3:29 p.m.: Back on re-direct examination, former FOP President Dean Angelo says Van Dyke came to him for a job after a "mom-and-pop" store withdrew a job offer after protests. "I'll sit there [in the FOP offices] and scrub toilets," Angelo says Van Dyke said.
3:27 p.m.: Angelo acknowledges that Van Dyke had numerous complaints filed against him, but -- he repeats several times -- "none sustained."
3:26 p.m.: "Did you make up a job [for Van Dyke] just so he could get paid?" the prosecution asks Dean Angelo. He adds that Van Dyke couldn't even deliver beer, for fear that he'd be recognized. Therefore he spent most of his time inside the FOP office.
3:25 p.m.: In the overflow room, some audience members occasionally talk back to the video feed, in clear disagreement with the position that former FOP President Dean Angelo is taking, which is sympathetic to Van Dyke's point of view on the night of the McDonald shooting.
3:23 p.m.: On cross-examination, Angelo acknowledges that he has a different vantage point on what occurred, than what the video shows. "He's the only one who knows what he saw," Angelo says.
3:22 p.m.: Angelo: "I ask my friends: If this same situation occurs and there's two shots fired, are we here? They say no." It's the emotional component, combined with the fact that Van Dyke fired 16 shots -- not 2 -- that brings this case to trial, Angelo maintains.
3:20 p.m.: Angelo says his family and Van Dyke's family have now become "quite close." He adds that the Van Dykes' financial situation is precarious, and that Tiffany Van Dyke's job was threatened because of fallout from the McDonald shooting. "She closed up shop," Angelo says.
Angelo on Van Dyke: "He's raised two good kids; he's got a very supportive wife and father." "It was a 'perfect storm' that night and I know that this wasn't something that he set out to do."
3:18 p.m.: Angelo on Van Dyke: "He's a hard worker; he's a good dad." Angelo says Van Dyke even volunteered to quit his job at FOP after Angelo and the union was criticized for hiring him.
3:16 p.m.: Angelo says he eventually developed a friendship with Jason Van Dyke, when he was jobless and needed insurance for his family. The FOP (and Angelo) tried to get him employment at a loading dock, but were turned down.
Eventually Angelo hired him at FOP, where he worked until the Laquan McDonald trial ended last October. "He's not the monster that people have made him out to be in the media. He is a big gentle kid," says Angelo.
3:14 p.m.: Angelo says he learned of the Laquan McDonald shooting through the regular channels of communication that the FOP learns of all shootings: An officer met with Angelo at his offices the next morning to brief him on the incident.
3:13 p.m.: Angelo was FOP president during the time that the Laquan McDonald shooting occurred. He first met Jason Van Dyke the day he bonded out, after being charged in the McDonald shooting.
3:10 p.m.: Dean Angelo, Sr. is a retired Chicago police officer. He was president of the FOP for three years.
3:09 p.m.: Defense calls their next witness, Dean Angelo.
3:09 p.m.: Prosecution is now cross-examining retired Officer Watt: "Was [Van Dyke] trained to shoot young men on the ground who were just twitching?!?" "Are you trained to shoot until the life is over? Or until the threat is over?"
3:08 p.m.: Retired officer Kenneth Watt says Van Dyke did what he was trained to do: "People get the police that they see, and God help the City of Chicago."
3:04 p.m.: Next up, defense calls retired officer Kenneth Watt.
2:59 p.m.: Van Dyke's watch commander Leo Crotty takes the stand.
2:56 p.m.: "Now that he is gone, I feel I am left with nothing," Van Dyke's daughter says.
"There is not a day that goes by that I am not proud of him...he does not deserve to sit behind bars for protecting the city of Chicago," she says. "Bring my dad home please."
2:54 p.m.: Jason Van Dyke's daughter testifies that she has been bullied, teased and picked on because of her father's case.
Van Dyke's daughter said on the day of the verdict convicting her father her "heart ripped out of my chest." She talks about how he missed her 17th birthday
2:45 p.m.: Audio and video of current witness called by Van Dyke defense not allowed in court feed. This witness is Van Dyke's daughter.
2:40 p.m.: Technician Robert Warzocha with the Chicago Police Department testifies that he was with Van Dyke and a female officer the night of the traffic stop involving Jeremy Mayers.
2:38 p.m.: Van Dyke sentencing hearing resumes after recess
1:44 p.m.: After Rev. Hunter steps down, Judge Gaughan recesses until 2:30pm.
1:43 p.m.: "Why should this person ...who became judge, jury and executioner, .... and who has never asked for forgiveness, be free, when my life is gone forever?" Rev. Hunter's letter (in the words of Laquan McDonald) concludes.
1:43 p.m.: "He has not just destroyed my life .... He has destroyed the life of his wife and children," the letter says of former officer Van Dyke. "Please think about me, and my life, when you sentence this man to prison."
1:41 p.m.: Rev. Hunter continues reading a victim-impact statement, written in the words of Laquan McDonald: "Even though I am dead, my murder .... should not just be minimized to [Jason Van Dyke's] conviction."
1:39 p.m.: "Jason Van Dyke, with his cold, callous disregard for the life of a young black man, robbed of this." ... "In the matter of six seconds, [Van Dyke] took sixteen shots."
1:38 p.m.: Rev. Hunter's letter says Laquan McDonald's last paycheck went to purchase the suit that McDonald's body was clothed in, at his burial. The letter also says he died, just weeks before his family was due to be reunited in one house.
1:38 p.m.: Rev. Hunter says he prepared the statement as if it had been written by Laquan McDonald (though Hunter wrote the statement). "I'm a 17-year-old murder. I'm a victim of murder in the second degree," the letter begins.
"I am unable to speak with my own voice .... because [Jason Van Dyke] decided to become judge, jury and the executioner."
1:37 p.m.: Marvin Hunter is the next witness for the prosecution. He is a pastor, and also the great uncle of Laquan McDonald, and he is appearing to make a victim-impact statement to the court, on behalf of the McDonald family.
1:32 p.m.: Ultimately, Judge Gaughan dismisses Luces, who says, "I'm done?!? I'm really done?!?" Then the state prepares to call its next witness in the "aggravating" portion of the sentencing hearing of former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.
1:30 p.m.: Because Luces has been unable to identify former Van Dyke in the courtoom, the judge says someone must "put him there," at the scene of the encounter with Luces, or else there is no basis for the testimony.
1:26 p.m.: "I have a hard time seeing. It's been a lot of time. It was back in 2013. I was beaten up very badly," with head injuries, Luces tells the court.
1:25 p.m.: Luces approaches Van Dyke's table and scans the entire courtroom. One spectator apparently puts his hand up, and Judge Gaughan has him taken out of the court. Meanwhile, Luces says he cannot identify anyone in the courtroom as Officer Van Dyke.
1:24 p.m.: When asked to identify Van Dyke in the courtroom, however, Luces tells the court that he cannot see well from a distance, and does not point to Van Dyke at the defense table. Because of this, the judge asks Luces to stand up; walk over, and check the complete courtroom.
1:22 p.m.: Luces tells the court that officers approached his car, and told him to get out. "I tried to explain to them that I was deaf," Luces says, but says they manhandled him as they tried to pull him out. Luces says one was African American, and Van Dyke was the other.
1:19 p.m.: The court is using two slgn language interpreters -- one to interpret the attorney questions, and one to interpret Luces' answers. Luces tells the court that he was pulled over by the police almost immediately after he got in his car.
1:17 p.m.: Actually, Prusak is an additional sign language interpreter. The witness's name is Alberto Luces, who filed a complaint against Officer Jason Van Dyke in March of 2013.
1:14 p.m.: The plan is to hear from at least one more witness for the Van Dyke prosecution for the "aggravating" portion of this sentencing hearing; then break for lunch. The court is calling for a sign-language interpreter for the next witness, June Prusak.
1:11 p.m.: Court is back in session.
12:57 p.m.: Judge Gaughan declares a 10-minute break in proceedings.
12:56 p.m.: Edwin Nance continues on the stand, as a witness for the prosecution, talking about how internal police investigators did not find fault with Jason Van Dyke, despite the fact that Nance won a civil rights lawsuit as a result of his encounter with the officer.
12:54 p.m.: The courtroom feed is now back up, and Nance is still on the stand in the Van Dyke sentencing hearing.
12:52 p.m.: Word here is that the courtroom video feed is down not just here in the overflow courtroom, but everywhere that the Van Dyke sentencing hearing is being broadcast. It cut out as a witness for the prosecution was being cross-examined about an encounter with Van Dyke.
12:41 p.m.: As defense attorney is questoning Nance, the courtroom video feed freezes up.
12:40 p.m.: Nance brings up a traumatic incident when he was in the U.S. Army, in 1988, when he escaped being beaten by some other men.
12:38 p.m.: On cross examination, Dan Herbert, former officer Van Dyke's defense attorney, questions Nance's use of medication, both in court today, and in the past, prior to his encounter with Jason Van Dyke.
12:35 p.m.: Nance also filed a claim with IAD, which, he says, took no action. "[Van Dyke] went to work the same d--m next day, like it didn't happen!" Nance tells the court.
12:34 p.m.: Nance says he filed a civil rights lawsuit against Van Dyke and other members of the Chicago Police Department for the events of July 9, 2007, which resulted in a jury verdict in Nance's favor. (Nance continues to cry in court as the attorney questions him.)
12:33 p.m.: Nance says he used to be a high school referee in basketball and football. "I can't referee no more. I was a good official. It hurts when I move my arms over my shoulders. I'm in constant pain, every day," because of the way, he says, that Officer Van Dyke manhandled him.
12:32 p.m.: "I can't sleep at night," Nance tells the court through tears. "I got anxiety and PTSD." He tells Van Dyke prosecutors "I've got ADD; I can't even focus." He sees both psychiatrists and psychologists, and takes hydrocodone, anxiety pills, antidepressants, ADD medications, etc.
12:30 p.m.: Nance voice breaks as he describes the extended surgeries and repairs he has had since the 2007 incident with Officer Van Dyke. He says he has experienced psychological pain as well, from the July 9 traffic stop.
12:28 p.m.: In fact, Nance says, he had to have two surgeries as a result of the injuries he says he suffered when Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke threw him, handcuffed, into his squad car. He'd never had shoulder problems before this incident, Nance tells the court.
12:27 p.m.: Nance says former officer Van Dyke told him that night after his traffic stop in 2007, "Get the f--- out of here; don't say nothing else," or he'd send Nance to jail. Nance says the pain, from Van Dyke's throwing him into a squad car, continued.
12:23 p.m.: Then, Nance tells the courtroom in the Van Dyke sentencing hearing, in his encounter with Van Dyke, Van Dyke eventually removed his handcuffs; gave him a ticket for not having a front license plate, and told Nance to walk home.
12:23 p.m.: Nance says he told Van Dyke that he shouldn't hurt him. "Then [Van Dyke] pulled me out of the car by the left arm" and then said "shut the f---up, or you're going to jail," when Nance asked him about his cousin and his car.
12:18 p.m.: Nance says that Van Dyke then dragged him, backwards, in handcuffs, to the officers' police car, where "he threw me [face-down] in between the back of the front seat .. and put me on the floor in the back seat." Nance says he was in pain in his arms.
After he was put, handcuffed, in the police car, Nance tells the court, through tears "I couldn't move nothing." He says officer Jason Van Dyke responded, "shut up."
12:16 p.m.: According to Nance, officer Jason Van Dyke threw him on the car, back first, and said "don't move, motherf---er, don't move" and then got Nance's cousin out of the car.
12:14 p.m.: Nance says that Van Dyke told him that night in 2007 to "open the f---in' door" and "open this motherf---in' door right now" -- that those were the first words Van Dyke greeted him with.
"My cousin unlocked the doors," Nance says, "and [Van Dyke] opened the door and pulled me out of the car." Nance says Van Dyke then grabbed his left arm and put him face-first on the car, handcuffed him, and uttered more obscenities at him.
12:13 p.m.: Nance appears to cry as he he identifies one of the officers, Jason Van Dyke, who he says approached him that night in July of 2007.
12:12 p.m.: Nance says he and his cousin were headed back to his home when a police car signaled from behind at an intersection, and, he says, he pulled over beyond the intersection. He says two officers approached his car.
12:09 p.m.: State witness Edwin Nance, 49, testifies about the night of July 9, 2007, when he says he was driving his mother's car along with one passenger, his cousin.
12:07 p.m.: An extended delay as the state calls another witness in the "aggravating/mitigating" portion of former CPD officer Jason Van Dyke's sentencing hearing regarding his conviction in the shooting of Laquan McDonald.
12:02 p.m.: "You don't have a high opinion of police officers, correct?" Defense attorney Dan Herbert asks witness Eric Breachett. Breachett responds that he's a "young black man in America," and is cautious of situations involving police officers.
"Even though you're innocent or guilty, with CPD you don't know what the outcome will be," Breachett tells Van Dyke's defense attorney, Dan Herbert. He also says Van Dyke and his partner verbally abused him when they pulled him over during a traffic stop.
12 p.m.: Defense attorney Dan Herbert challenges Eric Breachett's testimony and brings up the fact that Breachett implied that Van Dyke "belongs in prison" because he said in court that Van Dyke was in the "right clothes."
11:58 a.m.: Breachett says he later filed a complaint against the officers (including Van Dyke) -- one of several he has filed against CPD for various incidents.
11:57 a.m.: Eric Breachett tells the courtroom that he refused to admit that he had loud music on in his car, but the police told him that they "would take [him] to jail anyway." Breachett says he told police that he was asthmatic, and, in fact, was having an asthmatic episode.
11:55 a.m.: Breachett says Van Dyke and another officer put him in handcuffs and tried to search his car. He says they mistaked his car for one that was actually ahead of his, which was making loud noise.
11:54 a.m.: Breachett tells the courtroom, in the sentencing hearing of former officer Jason Van Dyke, that he admitted rolling through a stop sign, when stopped in 2009. Breachett identifies Van Dyke in the courtroom, saying "he's definitely in the right attire" (a prison jumpsuit).
11:52 a.m.: Breachett says he was driving a 2002 Monte Carlo with his girlfriend, traveling east on 79th Street, headed to Rainbow Beach on Lake Michigan, in the early evening, when he was stopped by police, including former officer Jason Van Dyke.
11:50 a.m.: Prosecution calls another witness: Eric Breachett, an employee with Ford Motor Company, about an event in 2099, when Breachett was 19 years old.
11:49 a.m.: Jeremy Mayers: "Every time I see [Van Dyke] and what happened to [Laquan McDonald] I am traumatized. ... It could've been prevented."
11:45 a.m.: Dan Herbert, former CPD officer Jason Van Dyke's defense attorney, continues to cross-examine Jeremy Mayers, who says Van Dyke choked him and twisted his arm after a traffic stop in 2010: "You made a complaint against all three police officers ... correct?"
"I know it was him. I know his face clear as day," Mayer responds to attorney Herbert, who implies that Mayers might not have known which officer allegedly choked him in 2010.
11:40 a.m.: Van Dyke's attorneys cross-examine Mayers about that night in 2010: "You were impaired that night, correct?" asks Dan Herbert, Van Dyke's lead counsel.
"You were drinking with your friends, correct? ... You blew .08, correct?" Herbert asks.
11:35 a.m.: Mayers says he provided a statement in his complaint, in which he also reported that Van Dyke had twisted his arm, during the encounter in 2010, when he was removing handcuffs from Mayers.
Mayers says he was convicted of DUI, in the 2010 case where Van Dyke and others pulled him over. He also says of the encounter with Officer Van Dyke "I can't even look at the man right now... he didn't have no remorse or nothing."
11:32 a.m.: Prosecution witness Jeremy Mayers, in talking about an encounter he had with former CPD officer Jason Van Dyke after a traffic stop, tells the courtroom that he filed a complaint after Van Dyke allegedly choked him in a squad car.
11:31 a.m.: Mayers tells the court that he tested at "exactly the legal limit," so he was booked by police. He says he asked to speak to a police officer, "cause I wanted to file a complaint," about officer Van Dyke allegedly choking him in the car.
11:30 a.m.: Mayers says he still didn't spit out the cough drop. "He choked me ....5-10 seconds, something like that," then released him and took Mayers into the station. In the station the police wanted Mayers to take a breathalyzer test, Mayers tells the court, and he finally took it.
Mayers says the police "forced" him to take a breath test but does not allege any physical force to take the test.
11:28 a.m.: Mayers says Van Dyke and the other officer (female) took him to 70th and Cottage Grove (the police station there). At the station, Mayers says he had a cough drop in his mouth, and Van Dyke told him to remove it, "and I told him no."
After Mayers refused, "[Van Dyke] turned around and started choking me," to try to get the cough drop out. "He was choking me enough... that he stopped my breath a little bit, yes he did." Mayers says Van Dyke choked him with one hand.
11:26 a.m.: Mayers says he was alone when he was pulled over by police, and told he hadn't used the proper turn signal. Mayers says "it went from I didn't use a turn signal, to my plate light was out, to my [car] was too loud." He says he was asked to step out of the car.
"I think they smelled alcohol on my breath...I did a field-sobriety." Then, he says, Van Dyke searched his car. Mayers says he got arrested, after telling Van Dyke that he had relatives in the CPD. Van Dyke handcuffed Mayers, he says, and put him in the police squad car.
11:24 a.m.: The prosecution calls another witness in the "aggravation" portion of today's sentencing hearing of former officer Jason Van Dyke: Jeremy Mayers, age 42. He talks about an incident on March 19, 2011 in which he encountered Van Dyke during a traffic stop.
Mayers tells the courtroom that he was stopped while driving down Cottage Grove near 64th Street, in a 1974 Cadillac. (The judge allows Mayers to have some water, after Mayers admits he is a little nervous.)
11:22 a.m.: A bit of applause from the spectators in the overflow courtroom, after Joy's testimony.
11:21 a.m.: Joy continues to be cross-examined by Van Dyke's attorney. "You never told the investigator (from the CPD office of professional standards) that Jason Van Dyke put a gun to your head."
Van Dyke's attorney insist that Joy never told OPS investigators 1) that Van Dyke uttered racial slurs and 2) that he held a gun to Joy's head. "Why didn't you put those in there -- the two most salacious allegations that you made."
"Maybe because the interviewer acted like she wasn't interested in what I was saying in the first place," Joy responds.
11:20 a.m.: Van Dyke's defense attorney "There is nothing in that statement .... any allegation .... about a racial slur." "In my opinion," Joy counters, the obscenities covered that.
11:18 a.m.: Joy says he filled out a complaint and signed it, reporting the obscenities and racial slurs that, he says, former Jason Van Dyke called him when he pulled Joy over in August of 2005. However, Van Dyke's defense team, in cross-examination, challenges that.
11:16 a.m.: Joy says the location of his pull-over was in a pretty rough area. "That's Chicago," he says. Joy says Van Dyke called him "a black a-- n-----" that night.
11:15 a.m.: Van Dyke's attorneys ask Joy about the "several squad cars" that, he says, surrounded him that night in 2005. "It didn't look like they were pulling you over for a traffic violation, right?" "They thought you were involved in something serious, right?"
11:14 a.m.: Joy admits that he did not have the proper tags on his vehicle, when he was pulled over in 2005 by former police officer Jason Van Dyke and other officers. However, his traffic citation was later dismissed.
11:13 a.m.: Van Dyke attorneys try to challenge Joy's memory of the night that he encountered Jason Van Dyke on Aug. 10, 2005, when, he says, Van Dyke uttered obscenities and racial slurs to him during a traffic stop. Van Dyke's attorneys try to get Joy to say that his memory would have been better in 2005, concerning his encounter with Van Dyke, than it would be today.
11:11 a.m.: Joy tells Van Dyke defense attorneys that he was contacted approximately 40 days ago, to come into court today to testify about "aggravating" factors in Jason Van Dyke's sentencing. "When I first filed my grievance" about his encounter with Van Dyke, "it was abruptly dismissed."
11:11 a.m.: Joy is now under cross-examination by Van Dyke's defense attorneys.
11:10 a.m.: "He never gave me any reasons for detaining me," Joy says about former officer Jason Van Dyke, who allegedly stopped his car outside a gas station. "I have anxiety to the degree that any time a police officer gets behind me ... I become nervous to the point that I just shut down."
11:10 a.m.: Joy says Van Dyke was "infuriated" and "out his mind" when he confronted Joy outside a gas station. Joy said he complied with everything Van Dyke asked him to do, and says he asked Van Dyke if he could contact his attorney.
11:09 a.m.: Joy says the night he was pulled over by Chicago police, officer Van Dyke spoke to him with obscenities and racial slurs, and "he had his gun drawn on me." "He put the gun to my temple," Joy tells the court.
11:06 a.m.: Prosecution witness Joy says he pulled his car out from gas station at Cermak and Ogden in Chicago one night when he was "abruptly pulled over by several squad cars." Joy said he placed his hands on the steering wheel of his car (when he was pulled over) and then was approached by several officers, including Jason Van Dyke. "He approached my car with his gun drawn," Joy testifies, and identifies Jason Van Dyke in the courtroom.
11:05 a.m.: Prosecutors call to the stand Vidale Joy to the stand. He describes himself as a "published author and poet."
11:04 a.m.: Judge Gaughan mentions that any witness who will be testifying, in this phase of the sentencing hearing, are out of the courtroom.
11:03 a.m.: Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon begins to present his case for "aggravating" factors that would add to Jason Van Dyke's sentence.
11:01 a.m.: Jason Van Dyke is being led to the defense desk in the courtroom, and is now seated there. Judge Vincent Gaughan is now considering the "aggravation" phase of sentencing.
11 a.m.: Court is back in session now.
10:52 a.m.: What's not yet entirely clear, however, is what "aggravating" factors might be presented by the prosecution, in any attempt to keep Jason Van Dyke's sentencing more severe.
10:50 a.m.: Most reporters in the Van Dyke court's "overflow room" expect the former officer's wife -- and possibly even one or more of his children -- to testify today in court, in an effort to get Van Dyke's overall sentence reduced. Their appeals would be considered "mitigating" factors.
10:46 a.m.: It is expected that former police officer Jason Van Dyke's family members may testify as part of this aggravation/mitigation portion of today's hearing. What's not known is whether Judge Vincent Gaughan may opt to turn off the courtroom feed, during that portion of the hearing.
10:45 a.m.: It's believe that -- after this current recess -- Judge Vincent Gaughan will reconvene court to here the "aggravation/mitigation" portion of today's sentencing hearing -- that is, what factors might argue for a more severe sentence, versus what factors might lessen the sentence.
10:37 a.m.: Court is now in recess. Meanwhile, in the overflow room, the debate goes on about how to most accurately describe the color of Jason Van Dyke's prison jumpsuit. Yellow, orange, burnt orange, and peach have all been suggested as the most appropriate descriptions for news reports.
10:36 a.m.: Van Dyke's defense agrees with special prosecutor that penalty must be proportionate to the determination of second-degree murder. Since first-degree murder sentencing would be about half the sentence for all 16 convictions of aggravated battery, the sentence needs to be adjusted.
10:34 a.m.: One of former police officer Jason Van Dyke's defense counsels, Darren O'Brien, is arguing to Judge Joseph McMahon that if the judge decides to consider aggravated battery, he should limit that consideration to just a few of the 16 shots fired into Laquan McDonald.
"That is why [Van Dyke} must be sentenced to only one count" of aggravated battery, says defense attorney Darren O'Brien.
10:31 a.m.: Van Dyke attorney Darren O'Brien also says the 16 shots, by definition, "merge into" the second-degree murder conviction, and that court precedent in Illinois says you can't charge someone "in a way that eliminates second degree murder." He says that "annuls" the murder charge.
10:27 a.m.: Now one of Van Dyke's defense attorneys is speaking to the judge.
10:26 a.m.: However, McMahon argues, there is ample reason for the judge to impose a concurrent (not consecutive) sentence on second-degree murder, in addition to the sentence on aggravated battery.
10:26 a.m.: Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon says "there is sufficient evidence for you to impose sentence on both second degree murder and the aggravated battery with the firearm."
10:24 a.m.: "Had the jury returned a verdict of first-degree murder," the minimum sentence would have been less than half the 96 years that could be levied on the 16 counts of aggravated battery, the prosecutor points out.
10:24 a.m.: As expected, the special prosecutor says that the minimum sentence for Jason Van Dyke should be 18 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections -- six years for each of two fatal shots, plus another six years for the other 14 shots.
10:22 a.m.: That's why Jason Van Dyke could receive as many as 96 years in prison, if given the maximum sentence for each of the 16 shots he fired into Laquan McDonald. Most experts do not expect that to be the final sentence, however.
10:20 a.m.: "[For] each count of aggravated battery with a firearm, ... the sentences must run consecutive," the prosecutor tells the judge in the sentencing of Jason Van Dyke. In other words, they must be served one after another -- not all at the same time.
10:19 a.m.: Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon tells Judge Vincent Gaughan that the prosecution has consistently argued that Jason Van Dyke's firing of 16 shots -- which lead to his aggravated battery conviction -- is the more serious conviction and must be the priority for sentencing.
10:16 a.m.: "At first blush to someone who does not .. work in the system," second degree murder may seem like the more serious offense. But, in fact, aggravated battery is considered more serious in Illinois, says the Van Dyke prosecutor.
10:13 a.m: "Three areas to look at when determining the sentence in this case," the prosecutor tells Judge Gaughan. First, the indictment, which reflects 16 separate counts of aggravated battery....
"...16 separate and distinct acts committed by the defendant," in the killing of Laquan McDonald, committed by former officer Jason Van Dyke, with each and every of the 16 wounds causing harm.
10:13 a.m.: Judge Gaughan is addressing the crowd, telling the audience that he is taking video of the entire audience in case of a disruption -- so that he can have a video record of who is there.
10:12 a.m.: Court is now back in session.
10 a.m.: Today's proceedings -- once they are back underway -- will comprise of three parts: Witness testimony; then an argument over which of Van Dyke's two convictions (second-degree murder versus aggravated battery) should be considered as the priority, then, third, arguments over aggravation and mitigation factors. "Aggravation" factors would push towards a more severe sentence; "mitigation" factors would possibly allow a lighter sentence.
9:55 a.m.: Van Dyke appeared briefly in court this morning, before the current recess. He wore a yellow jumpsuit -- though some reporters in the overflow insist it is orange instead. He also now has a beard.
9:53 a.m.: Many "overflow" spectators and reporters are expressing some surprise that this morning's recess -- taken as the judge hears arguments as to whether some witnesses should be allowed to testify without cameras -- is taking so long.
9:50 a.m.: Spectators in the overflow room include a variety of reporters and spectators, and even some small children.
9:49 a.m.: As the court recess continues in this morning's Van Dyke sentencing, even the "overflow room" -- where spectators and reporters watch the proceedings on a large screen -- is filling up, with approximately 60 people now waiting for court to reconvene.
9:38 a.m.: Technically, former police officer Jason Van Dyke faces a broad set of extremes in today's sentencing: More than 96 years in prison at one extreme; and straight probation -- with no jail time at all -- at the other. Because Van Dyke's defense maintains that the case falls under a "one crime, one act" doctrine, they argue that he can only be sentenced for one charge, since they each fall under the same criminal act.
9:32 a.m.: Court remains in recess as Judge Vincent Gaughan decides whether some witnesses (testifying in Jason Van Dyke's sentencing phase, after his conviction in the killing of Laquan McDonald) can speak without their testimony being broadcast on the audio or video courtroom feed.
9:24 a.m.: Judge Gaughan may well hear this morning from Jason Van Dyke's wife, Tiffany. In a court document filed this past Monday, Tiffany Van Dyke -- as well as the couple's children -- wrote letters, appealing for leniency in Van Dyke's sentencing.
“My family has suffered more than I can even put into words,” Tiffany Van Dyke wrote to the judge in the document filed Monday. “My daughters had their father ripped away from them to possibly ever be able to hold each other again. My children do not sleep or eat right."
Tiffany Van Dyke added in her letter to the judge: “Please find it in your heart to consider the punishment already endured by him that will continue for the rest of his life."
In her letter filed Monday, Jason Van Dyke's wife also told Judge Gaughan: “There was no malice, ill intent, or hatred on that fateful night when my husband was faced with the split second decision. He believed he was making the right choice that night.”
9:21 a.m.: The prosecution has argued the "one crime, one act" doctrine would require the judge to sentence Van Dyke on the more serious criminal act, which they say is aggravated battery. This charge does not have probation as an option, where the conviction of second-degree murder does.
9:20 a.m.: After hearing from witnesses, Judge Gaughan says he plans to hear arguments over which of Van Dyke's two convictions -- one for second degree murder and one for aggravated battery -- is the more consequential conviction, meriting priority in today's sentencing.
9:15 a.m: After announcing the schedule for the day, Judge Vincent Gaughan has called a brief recess to discuss whether some witnesses should appear on camera. He says some have expressed objections to that.
9:13 a.m.: Judge Gaughan says he will hear various witnesses, but some have filed objections to being broadcast via audio or video. Then he will hear legal arguments.
9:11 a.m.: Court is now in session for the Jason Van Dyke hearing.