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CHICAGO — Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke is no longer in the custody of the Illinois Department of Corrections, according to the agency.

From the moment he entered the prison system, secrecy shrouded Jason Van Dyke’s location due to safety and security concerns. Initially, the Illinois Department of Corrections withheld details about which prison Van Dyke was released from. State officials later confirmed Van Dyke was released from downstate Taylorville Correctional Center.

WGN legal analyst Paul Lisnek described the calculation as to how Van Dyke served so little time. 

“Under Illinois Law with good behavior, Van Dyke just had to do a good job of behaving himself that cut his sentence to about 50%,” WGN Legal Analyst Paul Lisnek said.

Bodycam and dashcam videos captured Van Dyke firing 16 shots into Laquan McDonald in 2014, killing the Chicago teenager. A year later, the delayed video release ignited outrage and emotional protests across the city.

The 2018 murder trial led to a second-degree murder conviction and 16 counts of aggravated battery. In a controversial sentencing phase, Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan handed down just over a 6-year sentence, however.

The decision sent shockwaves of outrage to many.

“Judge Gaughan took advantage of the perfectly legal power he had to run whatever sentence he was going to assign with the battery charges tied to second-degree murder charges,” Lisnek said.

During his abbreviated stay behind bars, Van Dyke, for a time, was moved to a federal detention center in Connecticut. According to records from the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, when Van Dyke’s release was approved in September of last year, he was being held at the minimum-security Taylorville Correctional Center near Springfield. 

Now free of police custody, the ex-Chicago cop will remain under supervised release for three years. 

Lisnek says federal civil rights charges are unlikely despite calls from activists and community leaders. This is because there’s no statute of limitations on civil rights cases involving a fatality.

“The possibility of a civil rights charge here absolutely is possible and that most likely is what Merrick Garland and the DOJ is weighing, if indeed they are weighing anything,” Lisnek said.

Spokespeople for the US Attorney’s office for the Northern District of Illinois have declined to comment.