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Episode 31: Van Dyke’s Release From Prison

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As Jason Van Dyke approaches his release from prison on Feb. 3, 2022, the family of Laquan McDonald is divided over calls for federal authorities to bring civil rights charges that could put the former Chicago police officer behind bars again for the 2014 killing of the teenager.

This episode is part of 16 Shots, a podcast first released in 2018 about the fatal police shooting of Laquan McDonald, the trial of Officer Jason Van Dyke, and the troubled relationship between African-Americans and the Chicago Police Department. To hear all the episodes, subscribe on Pocket Casts, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you get your podcasts.


The 16 Shots reporting team talks to McDonald’s family members, some of whom were surprised to find out Van Dyke’s release was coming so soon after the trial. They also reflect on what the past three years has meant for their family, the city of Chicago and policing in America.

Host Jenn White gets some answers on how likely the feds are to bring charges against Van Dyke and why Van Dyke is being released after serving just 40 months of his 81-month sentence. And we visit Pastor Marshall Hatch at his church on Chicago’s West Side, where there is a permanent reminder of Laquan McDonald and his early death.

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