A $1.5 million bond was paid by the father of a Chicago police officer charged with murder after dash cam video revealed that he shot a teenager 16 times.
Jason Van Dyke walked through a crowd of reporters after his release from the Cook County Jail Monday, ignoring reporter’s questions and surrounded by supporters.
Van Dyke has been jailed since Nov. 24 when he was first charged in the shooting death of 17 year-old Laquan McDonald. Dash cam video was released on the same day showing McDonald walking down the street on the city’s southwest side. Van Dyke, 37, repeatedly shot McDonald who was armed with a small knife.
Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez tried to diffuse the expected public anger the video would cause by announcing the charges before the video was released.
The release of the video last week sparked protests in Chicago and led to calls Monday for Alvarez to step down, partly for her delay in charging Van Dyke. The shooting took place in October of 2014.
Van Dyke’s case is the first time in 35 years that a Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder for an on-duty fatality.
The video reveals McDonald walking down a four lane-street, veering away from officers as they emerge from a vehicle with weapons drawn.
Van Dyke opened fire at close range spinning McDonald around. McDonald then falls to the ground as the officer continues to fire.
Dan Herbert, attorney for Van Dyke, indicates that Van Dyke acted lawfully and that the video does not tell the whole story. Herbert says his client feared for his life. Police report that McDonald was carrying a knife and that he had PCP in his system. Alvarez said that the knife McDonald had was a three inch blade which was folded into the handle.
President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Dean Angelo Sr., told reporters that the video shows the officer “went into training mode and takes action that he believes at that time is justified.”
Herbert said the case is defensible because of the information he has “…that quite frankly nobody else knows,” he said.
Van Dyke was suspended without pay last week after the murder charge was filed. Until that time Van Dyke had been placed on desk duty.
The video indicates that Van Dyke exited the police vehicle and took at least one step forward before firing 16 rounds at McDonald in about 14 seconds. Van Dyke was reloading when another officer told him to hold his fire.
Protesters blocked streets in Chicago’s shopping district on the busiest shopping day of the year.
Van Dyke is expected to appear in court for a status hearing on Dec. 18.