Prosecutors want 18 years in prison for ex-Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke

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By Associated Press

CHICAGO — Prosecutors are recommending that the former Chicago police officer convicted in the 2014 shooting death of black teenager Laquan McDonald be sentenced to at least 18 years in prison and a defense attorney is urging the judge allow the officer to be released on probation.

In documents filed this week in anticipation of Friday’s sentencing of Jason Van Dyke, the arguments display widely divergent interpretations of the state’s complex sentencing formula, a reflection of the struggle that legal experts have had in trying to determine the sentence the white ex-officer might be facing since a jury found him guilty of second-degree murder in October.

The jurors also convicted the 40-year-old Van Dyke of 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm — one for each shot that hit the 17-year-old McDonald. They opted for a conviction of second-degree murder rather the first-degree murder, which had been available to them. A first-degree murder conviction would have carried a maximum sentence of life and — factoring in enhancements for having used a gun — a mandatory minimum of 45 years in prison.

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