Former Chicago Cop Jason Van Dyke Sentenced To 81 Months In Prison For 2014 Murder

Updated at 9:09 p.m. ET Former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was sentenced on Friday to six years and nine months in prison for the murder of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald — an event that he called the worst day of his life. The shooting was captured on an infamous police dashcam video that showed McDonald, who was carrying a knife with a 3-inch blade, walking away from Van Dyke just before the officer shot him 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014. The release of the video sparked protests and...

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Sarah Jesmer

Marchers in Geneva braved snow and cold for the Fox Valley Women’s March Saturday.

Organizers estimate around 750 attendees packed into downtown Geneva for the march, undeterred by the snow, wind, and 25-degree temperatures.

Speeches and signs carried by marchers touched on topics like sexual misconduct, gun violence, abortion rights, student debt, and the government shutdown. Some attendees even stood on cardboard to keep their feet warm while they cheered and listened to speeches from politicians and activists. 

Region Braces For Heavy Snow

Jan 18, 2019
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Warning for northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin through mid-day Saturday. Snow, heavy at times, and blowing snow are predicted. Totals of from 3-7" south of I-88 and 4-9" north of I-88 are forecast, with higher totals possible in some locations. In addition, there will be drifting from blowing snow.  The Weather Service says driving conditions will be hazardous. Localities are activating snow emergencies limiting travel and parking as well. 

A number of schools and organizations are canceling activities:

Members of the Professional Aviation Safety Specialists national union will hold  a small protest at Chicago Rockford International Airport Saturday. Northern Illinois and Wisconsin Representative Pete Rosa says the government shutdown furloughed many aviation safety inspectors. He says air travel is unnecessarily at risk.

A federal judge suggests the protracted government shutdown will hurt the federal workforce in the long term. 

Ruben Castillo is Chief Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. His court has dwindling funds to pay employees and is set to run out January 25th.  He says the poor treatment of government employees, especially the lack of pay, will make young people think twice about seeking out work in the federal government.

Illinois firearms dealers will now have to have state licenses. That’s part of a package of changes Governor JB Pritzker signed into law on Thursday.

A judge on Thursday acquitted three Chicago police officers of trying to cover up the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, ruling that the shocking dashcam video of the black teenager's death did not necessarily tell the whole story.

In casting off the prosecution's entire case, Judge Domenica Stephenson seemed to accept many of the same defense arguments that were rejected by jurors who in October convicted officer Jason Van Dyke of second-degree murder and aggravated battery. He is scheduled to be sentenced Friday.

More than 30,000 Los Angeles teachers are on strike this week.

The biggest issue on the negotiating table has not been teacher salaries, as is common. Instead, LA teachers are worried about class sizes, which can sometimes reach 40 students per class.


Meanwhile, teachers in Denver, Colorado, are nearing a work stoppage of their own.

Perspective: Why I March

Jan 17, 2019
Susan Stephens / WNIJ


Since 2017, the Women’s March has been a crucial part of our American narrative. I have had the privilege to march in previous years.

Federal courts are feeling the effects of the government shutdown.  This includes the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois.  It's based in Rockford and Chicago and hears both civil and criminal cases.

Chief District Judge Ruben Castillo says if the court runs out of money to make payroll, it will prioritize criminal cases for people detained and awaiting trial.

“We need to get those cases to trial as soon as we can," he said. "Somebody shouldn’t spend not even one extra day in jail unnecessarily."


News From NPR

NPR's Melissa Block talks to Neyla Pekarek, formerly of The Lumineers, about her debut solo album, Rattlesnake, which was inspired by an actual frontierswoman named "Rattlesnake Kate."

A gasoline pipeline in the Mexican state of Hidalgo exploded Friday evening, killing more than 60 people and leaving many more injured. The pipeline had been illegally tapped by gasoline thieves.

The federal government's failure to pay its workers during the shutdown has caused hardship for many. Economist Joseph Stiglitz tells NPR's Melissa Block why so many have no savings to fall back on.

Updated at 5:28 p.m. ET

With negotiations over reopening the government at a standstill, President Trump offered to back temporary protections for some immigrants brought to the country illegally as children, many of whom are now adults, in exchange for funding for a wall on the Southern border.

In a White House speech on Saturday, Trump also offered to extend the Temporary Protected Status program that blocks deportation of certain immigrants fleeing civil unrest or natural disasters.

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Earlier this week, Iran attempted to launch a rocket carrying a satellite into space. The Trump administration says their goal is really to develop long-range weapons. NPR's Geoff Brumfiel looks into what Iran is up to.

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