Chicago Cop Suspended for Murdering Teen Given New Job by Police Union
A Chicago cop who was suspended from the force for shooting an unarmed African-American teenager 16 times now has a job with the police union.
Jason Van Dyke, the white police officer who killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014, emptying his gun into the teen as he walked away from cops, was charged with first-degree murder last year. He was subsequently suspended without pay from the department. Chicago Fraternal Order of Police president Dean Angelo told the Associated Press the organization had taken on Van Dyke because he’s in a “very difficult situation, financially."
Angelo told the Chicago Sun-Times that Van Dyke performs a number of odd jobs for the union. “He might be on the roof, he might be in the office,” Angelo said, “he does anything we need.”
A national light was cast on the McDonald case last year, thanks to the city’s handling of the shooting. The facts of the case, when they finally emerged, seemed to involve police brutality and murder, a coverup, suppression of video of the incident, and dirty politics.
Police representatives originally told media that McDonald had been shot once in the chest after he lunged at cops. After a medical examiner’s report revealed the teen had been shot 16 times—nine in the back—the real story began to emerge. Dash cam video of the incident was sealed in the midst of one of Chicago’s most contentious mayoral races in recent history.
Following the political dustup and the reinstallation of incumbent Rahm Emanuel, the city council voted to award McDonald family—who had not filed a wrongful death suit—$5 million. Despite efforts by Emanuel and then-Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez to keep the dash cam video sealed, a judge ordered the release of the footage, which shows McDonald walking, at a good distance, away from cops. Van Dyke, who already had 20 complaints against him, was charged with murder.
“[T]he misconduct complaints from Van Dyke that we do have in our data tool show by and large excessive force and racial slurs,” Alison Flowers, of Invisible Institute, told press. “He has largely operated with impunity and under a code of silence with the same huddle of officers again and again.”
News of Van Dyke’s hiring by the union led to calls for protest as the message spread across social media. The Sun-Times reports Van Dyke is being paid $12 an hour in his new post.