Chicago Officer Convicted of Killing Black Teen Laquan McDonald Assaulted in Prison, Wife Says

Jason Van Dyke
Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke and his attorney Daniel Herbert attend Van Dyke's sentencing hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building January 18, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois. Van Dyke was found guilty in October 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the on-duty shooting of McDonald. Antonio Perez-Pool/Getty Images

The white Chicago police officer convicted for the shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald was assaulted in a Connecticut prison, his wife claimed on Wednesday.

Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was found guilty in October 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm for McDonald's 2014 slaying. He was sentenced to six years and nine months in prison in January.

Earlier in February, Van Dyke was transferred from Rock Island County Jail in Rock Island, Illinois, to a federal prison in Danbury, Connecticut. Hours after his arrival, he was placed in the prison's general population, where he was assaulted, his wife told the Chicago Sun-Times.

"We are all petrified and in fear for Jason's life," Tiffany Van Dyke said. "Jason just wants to serve his sentence. He does not want any trouble. I hope prison officials will take steps to rectify this right away. He never should have been in the general population."

Van Dyke had been kept in isolation and had not experienced issues with inmates while jailed in Illinois, the Chicago Sun-Times reported.

On Tuesday, Van Dyke told his lawyers he had been beaten up by other inmates after being placed in the general population of the federal prison. The following day, the lawyers received an anonymous call from a prison employee who revealed more details of the attack and said he was concerned about Van Dyke's safety.

A spokesperson for the Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury was not available for comment when contacted on Wednesday night, the Associated Press reported.

On Monday, prosecutors filed a petition with the Illinois Supreme Court seeking a sentence review. They claimed Judge Vincent Gaughan improperly applied the law when he chose to only sentence Van Dyke on the second-degree murder count and not the aggravated battery counts. The judge's decision means that Van Dyke could serve about half of his 81-month sentence with good behavior.