CHICAGO — Former Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was convicted of second-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, has been moved out of an Illinois prison and taken to Connecticut.
Van Dyke, 40, is in the low security Federal Correctional Institution in Danbury, Conn., about an hour outside of New York City, as he serves his six-year and nine-month sentence for the fatal shooting.
Those close to Van Dyke said he was beaten up at the Connecticut facility. Sources said the beating happened within three hours of him arriving at the facility. No further information was immediately provided on the incident.
WGN has not been able to confirm why the former officer was transferred to Connecticut.
Van Dyke had been held at Rock Island County Jail near the Illinois-Iowa border since October, when he was convicted in the McDonald case.
When asked why Van Dyke was being held outside of Cook County as he awaited sentencing, the Cook County Sheriff’s Office’s chief policy officer, Cara Smith, said it “was “determined this was the best housing assignment for him and the jail compound as a whole.”
While Van Dyke has long been considered a “high profile detainee,” there have also been other notable inmates who have spent time in a Danbury, Conn., prison cell.
Leona Helmsley, the hotel tycoon who was sentenced to 21 months for tax evasion in the 1990s, was an inmate at the prison. In 1985, Sun Myung Moon, the founder of the Unification Church, was there for under a year for tax troubles. Grammy-award winning singer and actress Lauryn Hill got three months at the FCI Danbury for not filing taxes at all at one point.
About 1,000 inmates reside at the Danbury facility.
Van Dyke’s wife, Tiffany Van Dyke, said her greatest fear was that her husband would not survive the prison system, and that he would be targeted, potentially by other inmates, because he was a white cop who shot a black teen 16 times.
A press conference will be held Thursday with more information about the incident.
Van Dyke was convicted in October 2018 of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery in the October 2014 slaying of McDonald.
Van Dyke was the first Chicago police officer in 50 years to be convicted of murder for an on-duty incident. He shot McDonald 16 times after a truck driver called 911 to report McDonald in a locked truck lot near 41st Street and Pulaski Road. The 17-year-old was armed with a 3-inch knife and high on PCP.
Video of the shooting, which was released via court order in November 2015, sparked massive protests and prompted federal and local investigations.