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Judge sentences white Chicago cop to 7 years in prison for murdering black teenager

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A judge on Friday sentenced white former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke to nearly seven years in prison after a landmark verdict last fall found him guilty of murder in the 2014 shooting of black teenager Laquan McDonald.

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Vincent Gaughan sentenced Van Dyke to 81 months in prison and said he would have to serve at least two years before he was eligible for parole.

Van Dyke, 40, appearing unshaven and wearing a yellow-orange jail uniform in court, faced up to 20 years in prison for his second-degree murder conviction and up to 30 years for each of 16 counts of aggravated battery – one count for each shot he fired at McDonald, who was carrying a knife.

Gaughan did not rule on the aggravated battery charges, explaining second-degree murder was the more serious crime.

The verdict in October marked the first time an on-duty Chicago police officer was held criminally accountable for the killing of an African-American, and touched off celebratory street demonstrations in Chicago.

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The jury’s verdict followed numerous acquittals or mistrials of police officers facing criminal charges across the country in the deaths of black men.

The hearing came a day after another judge found three of Van Dyke’s former police colleagues not guilty of conspiring to protect him after he fatally shot 17-year-old McDonald.

Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales and Robert Chiarito in Chicago; Editing by Caroline Stauffer, Sonya Hepinstall and James Dalgleish

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BUSTED: CNN’s panel of women defending Trump’s racism were literally the ‘Trumpettes’

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CNN aired a panel that featured “Republican women” defending President Trump’s racist tweets, but failed to mention that they were actually part of a pro-Trump group whose members the network had interviewed in the past.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

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Ben Carson is Donald Trump’s faulty human shield against accusations of racism

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Ben Carson is back in the news — after another long absence — because Donald Trump has once again been accused of racism.

This article originally appeared at Salon.

The secretary of Housing and Urban Development is the only African-American member of the president’s Cabinet, and is often trotted out to clean up after Trump makes a mess too obviously problematic for the media to ignore. While Trump has tried to spin his recent racist attacks on four progressive freshman congresswomen as a strategic maneuver meant to manipulate Democratic infighting to his advantage, Carson's re-emergence from his stupor should be a clear indication that the president’s team recognizes the damage that can be caused by his unforced errors.

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An illegal trend could be emerging after Trump let Kellyanne Conway off the hook for breaking federal law

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Federal workplaces are supposed to be free of politics, but a Trump administration appointee used a government forum Wednesday to express support for the president’s reelection.

At a conference on religious freedom hosted by the State Department, an official told the crowd of several hundred people that “hopefully he will be reelected,” referring to President Donald Trump.

It’s illegal for federal employees to engage in political activities while they are on the job.

“It’s a violation of the Hatch Act for a federal official, to say in her official capacity, to hope that the president will be reelected,” said Kathleen Clark, an expert on legal ethics at the Washington University in St. Louis.

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