Chicago’s main police union is standing in support of Officer Jason Van Dyke after he was charged with first degree murder last week, accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times on Oct. 20, 2014.
The Chicago lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) posted a bail fund appeal for Van Dyke on its website on Saturday after creating a bond fund appeal on Wednesday. Currently, Van Dyke is being held without bail.
The shooting, which was captured on dash cam video that was recently released via a court order, shows Van Dyke opening fire on McDonald just six seconds after exiting his patrol vehicle.
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The FOP is reportedly “paying the lawyer representing Van Dyke, Daniel Herbert, himself a former FOP member the union pays to represent Chicago cops in misconduct cases,” and that an earlier link on the FOP’s website to a GoFundMe campaign was “removed after the fundraising site said it violated a policy against its use by criminal defendants.”
Between 2008 and 2014, 74 percent of the people shot by police in Chicago were black. According to interviews with white and black police officers conducted by Reuters, the officers indicated that it was worthwhile to put Van Dyke’s actions “in the context of a racially divided city beset by violence.”
During Van Dyke’s 14-year career as a police officer, there were at least 20 complaints against him, according to an online database of police misconduct complaints compiled by the Citizens Police Data Project. None of those complaints resulted in discipline.
The release of the dash cam video from the shooting has led to protests in Chicago, and in response, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago police Superintendent Garry McCarthy announced on Sunday that by mid-2016, police officers will wear body cameras in six additional police districts.
Earlier this year, former Chicago Police Commander Lorenzo Davis said he was fired from his job as a supervising investigator at Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) after he determined that several officers involved in civilian shootings were unjustified, and he refused to change the status of his reports.
As previously reported, the case against Van Dyke is the first time in 35 years that a Chicago police officer has been charged with first degree murder.