[VIDEO] Chicago Officer Jason Van Dyke Faces First Degree Murder ChargePosted: November 24, 2015
Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke has been charged with first degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
Jason Meisner, Jeremy Gorner and Steve Schmadeke report: Cook County prosecutors said in court Tuesday that a Chicago police officer charged with first-degree murder opened fire six seconds after exiting his squad car as 17-year-old Laquan McDonald was walking away from him.
Officer Jason Van Dyke fired 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds and was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire, prosecutors said in bond court.
Judge Donald Panarese Jr. ordered Van Dyke held without bail until the judge can view on Monday a police dash-cam video of the shooting in October 2014.
“I believe it’s pertinent for a bond hearing,” Panarese said of the video. “I’m sorry, but I’m holding you no bail until Monday.”
Clad in a brown sweatshirt, a white shirt and bluejeans, Van Dyke showed no emotion as he was led from the courtroom in custody.
Prosecutors sought to have the veteran officer held without bail until his trial. But Van Dyke’s lawyer, Daniel Herbert, objected, saying the officer was not a risk to flee.
“We believe we have a valid defense in this case,” Herbert said.
Herbert said Van Dyke’s wife will be turning over his gun to the Police Department.
After the court session, Herbert told reporters, “Despite what you heard in that courtroom, this is not a murder case.”
Van Dyke, 37, turned himself in to state’s attorney’s investigators at 7:41 a.m. Tuesday in their offices at the criminal courthouse at 26th Street and California Avenue, booking records show. As he arrived, Van Dyke kept his hands in his jeans pockets, looked straight ahead and did not answer questions from reporters as he walked briskly into the Leighton Criminal Court Building with his attorney.
Van Dyke is charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of McDonald “without legal justification and with the intent to kill or do great bodily harm,” according to the one-page criminal complaint filed against him.
Meanwhile, Van Dyke’s wife, Tiffany, set up a GoFundMe page asking for online donations for her husband’s bond. Although the page did not mention her husband by name, it described him as a 15-year veteran officer “fighting for his freedom and justice.”
“He is a highly decorated and respected officer,” Tiffany Van Dyke wrote. “He was in a shooting that has been covered extensively by the media and we ask for your patience for all the facts to come out in the trial. We want him to be home with his family as we go through this judicial process.”
The page asked for donations “very quickly” so Van Dyke can pay whatever bond is set and he can be home for the holidays.
As of 11 a.m. Tuesday, donors, mostly anonymous, had given more than $10,000 of the $80,000 sought. The page also had attracted a number of negative comments, and shortly after 11 a.m. it was taken down.
The dash-cam video shows Van Dyke jumping out of his squad car and within seconds firing 16 rounds into McDonald, lawyers for McDonald’s family have said.
After the first few shots knocked McDonald to the ground, Van Dyke fired another volley that struck the African-American teen repeatedly as his body lay in almost a fetal position on the ground, according to the lawyers.
Police said McDonald, who had PCP in his system when he died, was behaving erratically and refusing police commands to drop a 4-inch folding knife. The police union has maintained that the officer fired in fear for his life because the teen lunged at him and his partner with the knife. Van Dyke’s lawyer also has said the officer, who is white, feared for his life…..(read more)