Watch CBS News

Special Prosecutor Concerned About Fact That Illinois Department Of Corrections Keeping Jason Van Dyke's Whereabouts Secret Ahead Of His Release

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Former Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke is just days away from an expected release from prison, but there is concern over why his location is still a secret.

CBS 2's Charlie De Mar spoke with the lawyer who led the prosecution against Van Dyke in the murder of Laquan McDonald. The special prosecutor in this case, former Kane County State's Attorney Joe McMahon, said he doesn't even know if Van Dyke is in custody.

McMahon said the Illinois Department of Corrections has clouded Van Dyke's release in secrecy — giving the family and the public reason to be skeptical.

"Their refusal to even acknowledge whether he is in their custody, I think, breeds distrust," McMahon said.

McMahon secured the conviction against Van Dyke as the special prosecutor. He is now in private practice.

McMahon said the Illinois Department of Corrections won't say if Van Dyke is in the state, or still behind bars.

"It makes people question whether he is, in fact, in the custody of the Department of Corrections," McMahon said.

In 2018, Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months for shooting and killing McDonald four years earlier. The former Chicago cop was to serve his time in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

With credit for each day served, Van Dyke's sentence will expire this week - a disappointment for some activists and members of McDonald's family.

"It just hurts so bad that we have to go through this here, and know that this young man is going to walk and go home to his family," said Tracie Hunter, McDonald's grandmother.

"I accept that that's our sentence," added McMahon. "It's not what I asked for. It's not what a lot of people in the community wanted or thought was appropriate."

While McMahon asked the judge for a much stiffer sentence, he still believes justice was served -and the landmark conviction of Van Dyke paved the way for accountability in other police-involved incidents caught on camera - like the murder of George Floyd.

"Jason Van Dyke was held accountable. He was sentenced to prison," McMahon said, "and any time in prison is difficult time, especially for a former police officer."

We ran into the same roadblocks as McMahon trying to get information. The Department of corrections won't say if Van Dyke is in custody or not.

McDonald's family has been notified that a release date has been set for later this week. But details remain sketchy.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.