Live

Watch CBSN Live

Ex-cop convicted in Chicago teen's death transferred to prison called one of nation's "cushiest"

Ex-cop sentenced in Laquan McDonald death

The former Chicago police officer convicted in the shooting death of black teen Laquan McDonald has been transferred to a New York federal correctional institution that's been called one of the country's "cushiest" prisons. Van Dyke was sentenced to less than seven years in prison on his second-degree murder conviction in the 2014 police shooting that drew widespread outrage. In a rare move, prosecutors have challenged the sentence. 

van-dyke8.jpg
Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool

Last month, Van Dyke's wife said that he was transferred from  from an Illinois state prison to a federal prison in Connecticut, where he was injured in an assault. Prison officials confirmed the assault at FCI Danbury in Connecticut, which they said resulted in "minor injuries."

Van Dyke is now at Otisville Federal Correctional Institution in New York, according to prison records. A U.S. Bureau of Prisons spokesperson told CBS Chicago Van Dyke was transferred from Danbury to Otisville on Monday, but declined to reveal the reason for the move.

Otisville, a medium-security federal facility about 70 miles from New York City, was named by Forbes in 2009 as one of the "America's 10 cushiest prisons." The facility has an adjacent minimum-security camp that offers recreational activities including weights, cardio equipment, bocce ball, horseshoes, a handball court, a tennis area and baseball and basketball field, according to the prison's online handbook. However, most of the inmates on Otisville's campus — 710 out of a total of 836 — are assigned to the medium-security federal correctional institution or detention center, according to the handbook, with the rest assigned to the camp. Inmates in both have access to both a law and a "leisure" library, the handbook says.

Otisville has been home to a number of high-profile and celebrity inmates. A judge agreed to recommended that former Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen serve his fraud sentence there, reports The New York Times, though the federal Bureau of Prisons will have the final say. Former New York State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver, free on bail pending an appeal of his federal corruption conviction, has also asked to serve his sentence at Otisville, the Times reports. "Jersey Shore" reality show personality Mike "The Situation" Sorrentino is serving his tax evasion sentence at the minimum-security camp, according to the Times.

The facility is commonly requested by Jewish inmates, reports the New York Times, because it offers a full-time Hasidic chaplain who oversees prayer services three times daily, religious classes and Kosher meals.

Absent a new sentence and with credit for good behavior, Van Dyke will likely serve around three years of his nearly seven year sentence in McDonald's shooting. 

laquan-mcdonald.jpg
Laquan McDonald CBS

McDonald's family has called the sentence "a slap in the face to us and a slap on the wrist" for Van Dyke. Prosecutors have argued the trial judge did not appropriately apply the law in handing down the sentence and have asked the state supreme court to review it. Van Dyke is contesting the challenge.

Police video of the shooting showed Van Dyke open fire as the teen, who was holding a knife, appeared to be walking away. Van Dyke continued to shoot the 17-year-old while he was lying on the street.