CHICAGO (CBS)—Before Judge Vincent Gaughan handed down a six-and-a-half-year prison sentence to former Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke for killing Laquan McDonald, he acknowledged the sentence wouldn’t sit well with either side.
“I realized that my decision will not make everyone 100 percent happy,” Gaughan said to a packed courtroom.
Van Dyke was sentenced to 81 months for second degree murder—a little more than six and a half years.
CBS 2 legal analyst Irv Miller said that with time served, Van Dyke will likely serve a little more than three years.
Van Dyke showed no reaction after hearing his sentence.
His wife quietly absorbed its meaning.
Activists immediately called the sentence a travesty.
“Today we got something we didn’t expect to see,” activist William Calloway said. “81 months in the Illinois Department of Corrections– that’s a slap in the face to us and a slap on the wrist to him.”
Van Dyke’s sentencing came more than eight hours into his often-emotional hearing.
More than a dozen people gave statements for the prosecution; including several men who testified they were victimized by Van Dyke during routine or unwarranted traffic stops.
The defense’s testimony came from former officers and family members–including his wife Tiffany—who described Van Dyke as a wonderful father and said there’s no hatred in her husband.
“He is my other half. He’s my heart. My husband is a kind and gentle man. He would give you the shirt off his back,” she said.
At the end of the hearing, Van Dyke read from a prepared statement, saying he prays daily for McDonald’s soul.
Prosecutor Joseph McMahon had asked the judge for 18 to 20 years.
“This is a significant sentence,” McMahon said. “I and this team are satisfied, we achieved our goal in holding Van Dyke accountable for his actions the night that he shot and killed Laquan McDonald.
Van Dyke’s family said nothing and left the courthouse arm in arm, surrounded by police officers and shouts for justice.
Van Dyke’s attorney Dan Herbert says the father of two is relieved.
“He’s certainly not happy about going to jail, he’s certainly not happy missing his family, but he’s happy about the prospect of life ahead of him, and that, to me, was one of the greatest feelings.”
SONOMA (KPIX) — In a Sonoma County vineyard, a border collie named Gig sniffs the soil for a black truffle (also called a Perigord truffle).
Black truffles are not native to California. On Thursday afternoon, Gig made a discovery that could bolster the belief that California’s Wine Country may become the next great truffle-growing region.
“Almost had a heart attack, this is incredible, this is our first truffle orchard in America that’s produced the first scientifically-grown truffle,” said Robert Chang, chief truffle officer with American Truffle Company.
The American Truffle Company works with growers to cultivate truffles using repeatable, reliable and consistent methods.
“People have actually been trying to grow truffles in this country for the last 30 years — largely without success — because the science of growing truffles is really not out there in the public domain,” added Chang.
Thursday’s find was an estimated 70 grams or $150 worth on the retail market. It’s only the second at this undisclosed location in the last month. The trees were first planted in 2011.
“It’s crazy slow but that makes it exciting as well, because you’ve got that long build-up period,” said Dr. Paul Thomas, a researcher with the American Truffle Company. “Within that period, we know exactly because we’re looking at root samples, we’re looking at soil samples.”
Dr. Thomas said the Wine Country has an ideal climate for truffle growing, which is one without extremes.
“To find a truffle under a tree in the ground less than 15 miles from the restaurant is really, really exciting,” said Ken Frank, owner and chef of La Toque in Napa.
Frank cooks regularly with truffles. Right now, he’s paying up to $700 per pound and, by the time the truffles arrive from Europe or Australia, they’re about a week old.
“It’s potentially a game-changer simply because to get truffles chefs in the Bay Area within the next few years — same day or next day — like chefs in France or Italy do now,” said Frank.
Perhaps in the near future, local truffles will also be featured in the upcoming Napa Valley Truffle Festival.
It celebrates all things truffle, kicks off Friday and ends Monday.
WEB LINK: Napa Truffle Festival
DENVER (CBS4)– State lawmakers honored the woman credited with starting Martin Luther King Day in Colorado. On Friday, Democrats and Republicans at the state Capitol gave former State Rep. Wilma Webb a standing ovation in the House chamber.
As she stood before the lawmakers, Rep. Lesley Herod said, “Wilma, we owe this day to you.”
Webb says today’s Legislature, which is the most diverse in state history, is much different than the one she served in.
“The unity that was expressed today in this Legislature was so different than the atmosphere in which I served,” said Webb.
Instead of unity, Webb says she encountered hostility in the 1980s as she introduced bill after bill to establish the MLK Jr. holiday.
“Four different times. Four different efforts. Four different bills,” said Webb.
She recalled the cold reception of colleagues, “None of them really said anything opposing to it. They just voted ‘No.’”
Webb also recalled the warmth of supporters, “They brought three bus loads full of people from Colorado Springs. I myself personally lobbied every member of the Senate, every member of the House. In the last, fourth year, I was able to get it adopted.”
Webb admits there were times she considered giving up, “Because it was so difficult.”
But she persevered, “Because this Legislature, this country needs to know about Dr. Martin Luther King and what a great person he was.”
Lawmakers gave Webb a certificate recognizing her service and courage, “For this to be presented today in this legislature and to hear all the comments… it means all of what that struggle was.”
Webb was the first African American appointed to the powerful Joint Budget Committee at the state Capitol. She lost her seat on that committee as a result of her fight for the MLK Jr. holiday.
CHICAGO (CBS)–The Cubs Kool-Aid will be flowing along the Chicago River, as the 34th annual fan convention gets underway at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel.
An underwhelming off-season isn’t keeping the diehards from getting into character to cape for their heroes.
It’s another standing-room-only crowd for the opening ceremonies. Back in October, the 2016 World Series champs were getting cursed at for a quick playoff exit. Instead of opening up the vault to add another superstar like Bryce Harper or Manny Machado, the Cubs pretty much stood pat.
Theo Epstein says the returning roster that won 95 games is good enough to be great.
OAKLAND (KPIX 5) – The woman who was bitten by a dog owner after an altercation in on Oakland regional park trail earlier this month talked on Friday about the physical and mental trauma she suffered in the attack.
The two women have given very different accounts of exactly what happened between them earlier this month at Oakland’s Anthony Chabot Regional Park.
The jogger, Cyndi Stainner, claims she was bitten by the other woman after she tried to protect herself from a dog.
All sides agree about one fact: the dog owner bit the jogger. But the two parties disagree on what led to the attack.
In an exclusive interview with KPIX 5, Stainner said she is the innocent victim and survivor. She wants the Alameda County District Attorney to charge the dog owner.
During the interview, she detailed the pain she has suffered since the attack.
“I have a concussion, I have PTSD, I have all kinds of bruises and abrasions,” explained Stainner.
Stainner says it’s not just the physical injuries. She’s also suffering from emotional trauma after dog owner Alma Cadwalader bit her during the confrontation.
“I don’t sleep. I’m having trouble concentrating,” said Stainner.
She was jogging on the trail in the Oakland hills and came across two dogs and Cadwalader, their owner.
“I asked her to call the dogs because they were rushing and circling me. She didn’t,” remembered Stainner.
She says when Cadwalader’s shepherd-husky mix nipped at her shorts, she pepper sprayed the dog.
“Ms. Cadwalader screamed obscenities at me. ‘What did you do to my dog? What did you do to my dog?’” she said.
Stainner says she kept jogging away, hoping to de-escalate the situation.
She said minutes later, on her way back to the car, the 19-year-old dog owner hit her in the head, pushed her to the ground with her face on the dirt and tried to take the pepper spray from her.
She said when she wouldn’t let go, the teen bit her. Stainner said the bite lasted for about 10-15 seconds.
“She was literally latched to my arm. Latched to my arm,” said Stainner.
The dog owner tells a different story.
Her attorney Emily Dahm told KPIX 5 Stainner was the aggressor who attacked Cadwalader. She says Cadwalader bit Stainner in self defense.
“As she has my client’s hair firmly in her grip, my client bites her to get her to release,” said Dahm.
Stainner insists that is a lie.
“I’m a nurse. We don’t hurt people; we help people,” said Stainner.
Police arrested the dog owner. The district attorney is reviewing the case. So far, they have not filed charges against the teenager.
Stainner’s attorney says if the DA drops the case, they may file a civil lawsuit against the teen.
CHERRY HILLS VILLAGE, Colo. (CBS4)– After more than a century, a name change could be coming for a neighborhood in Cherry Hills Village. The area with dozens of homes is known as Swastika Acres.
Some people find the name very ugly. Now there’s an ordinance that would allow the name to be changed.
The area consists of 50 homes but no swastikas. The name dates back to the early 1900s when the swastika symbol meant good luck.
Renee Bohrer is one of the residents who was stunned to find the name on her property’s paperwork.
“I found it a little interesting to say the least. It kind of has a negative context to it,” Bohrer said.
The name dates back to 1908 and the Denver Swastika Land Company. That of course was before the Nazis usurped the swastika as it’s symbol riding to power in Germany.
Now the Cherry Hills Village City Council has put in place an ordinance for the residents to change the name if they so choose.
CBS4’s Rick Sallinger asked city council member Al Blum if it was time to change the name.
“Personally I think it’s a bad name associated with the Nazis in World War II,” Blum said.
The swastiksa symbol was used in ancient cultures. But, some in Cherry Hills Village believe the time to dump the name is now.
“I can definitely understand why they would want to get rid of it because of the meaning behind it,” said Bohrer.
Residents would have to start a petition, then vote on a new name change.
DENVER (CBS4) – Colorado lawmakers are telling Colorado’s Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner that they need to do more to end the shutdown. Democrats in the state Legislature sent a letter to both senators.
It stated that 1,500 federal workers in Colorado didn’t receive paychecks last week. They also mentioned that food stamp recipients are at risk, along with businesses and National Parks struggling during the government shutdown.
“This letter is really about urging our federal delegation, particularly our senators, to say, ‘Put an end to this. Really lead and make sure the federal government puts the needs of the people above politics.’ This is madness, it has to stop,” said Rep. Kerry Tipper, a Democrat representing Lakewood.
The State Labor Office says 2,000 federal employees in Colorado have filed for unemployment assistance because of the shutdown.
PIEDMONT (CBS SF) – Three suspects involved in the frightening home-invasion robbery of a family in Piedmont last weekend were still at large Friday, but police are hopeful newly released surveillance video might lead to clues about the culprits.
The brazen home invasion happened at 9:30 a.m. Saturday morning. Police tell KPIX 5 that it may be connected to string of crimes.
Home surveillance video shows the three suspects walking up the driveway to the home before approaching the victim’s front door.
Piedmont Police Captain Chris Monahan described the scary scene.
“They confronted the nine-year-old who answered the door. They pushed him aside and forced their way into the house,” said Monahan. “At that time, the Dad heard the commotion of what was happening in the house. Then he came upstairs and confronted those same three individuals. One of them pulled a weapon on the dad and held him at gunpoint.”
The criminals suddenly fled without taking anything and no one was hurt during the incident. Monahan said the three suspects are persons of interest in a number of crimes.
“Grand theft and a burglary and a few other crimes. And possibly a carjacking in Berkeley. So it sounds like they may have been conducting a crime spree,” explained Monahan.
The sheer number of surveillance cameras operating in Piedmont was helping with the investigation. the In another clip, the suspect vehicle is seen driving away down the street. That camera captured the license plate. Moments later, it was recorded leaving Piedmont and returning to Oakland.
Simon Ho owns the only gas station in town. He says Piedmont is generally pretty quiet.
“Sound scary,” said Ho. “I’ve been here ten years. I feel really safe here.”
Local resident Tiffany Hartsinck said the surveillance clip was frightening.
“Everything is a little bit scary, especially with the young boy opening the door,” said Hartsinck. “But Piedmont is a safe community and our police department is amazing.”
The suspect vehicle had a built in GPS tracker. Investigators went straight to the vehicle but, it was empty.
Monahan is optimistic the department will find the suspects.
“So that car in in custody and we’ve had the techs going through that car, so the leads are coming together very quickly,” said Monahan.