Chicago officer who fatally shot teen posts bond, released from jail
CHICAGO (STMW/AP/FOX 32 News) - The white Chicago police officer charged with murder after a squad car video caught him shooting a black teenager 16 times posted bond and was released from the Cook County Jail on Monday evening. His bond had been set at $1.5 million, meaning he needed to post $150,000 to get out.
Van Dyke, wearing a black hoodie, got hugs from supporters after his family posted the required amount of his bond. Then, surrounded by a phalanx of family and fellow officers, Van Dyke made his way towards freedom.
Van Dyke kept his head down and said nothing as made his way through the crush of reporters and photographers who staked out the jail exit.
At one point, Van Dyke's father stumbled and then in apparent frustration with all the media, shoved a FOX 32 photographer in the face.
Van Dyke has been locked up since Nov. 24, when prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. He appeared in court Monday morning.
A small group of protesters in the courtroom stood silently while Judge Donald Panarese Jr. watched the video on laptop computer, then cried out after he announced his decision, the Chicago Sun-Times is reporting.
Van Dyke is scheduled to return to court Dec. 18.
Van Dyke's attorney last week reassured the judge that Van Dyke is not a flight risk, explaining that he has deep ties to the community, lives with his wife and two children in Chicago and does not possess a passport. Prosecutors had asked for no bond.
"We already made efforts from day one on Officer Van Dyke's behalf to support the family, the wife and children. We have encouraged it through our email," Dean Angelo, FOP President told FOX 32's Larry Yellen.
Van Dyke appeared in court with his hands and feet in shackles and wore a Department of Corrections coverall.
The video Panarese watched Monday in court already had enraged many in Chicago. The footage from a dashboard camera shows Van Dyke unloading a 16-round clip at McDonald — with most of the bullets fired after the teen had collapsed onto the ground.
The video stirred protests following its release last Tuesday, shortly after Van Dyke became the first Chicago cop to be charged with murder for an on-duty shooting in more than 30 years.
Van Dyke had been in custody since turning himself into prosecutors last Tuesday.
The video shows the teen running from police in the 4100 block of South Pulaski Street before he is shot. At his arraignment last week, Panarese Jr. said he wanted to viewthe video before making a ruling on bond for the veteran officer. So he declined to set bond at that time, and Van Dyke remained in custody.
VanDyke’s attorney, Daniel Hebert, has said the veteran officer is not guilty of any crime, noting that police shootings are justified based on an officer’s state of mind at the time he opens fire.
"There are certain things that I know that, quite frankly, nobody else knows. I am not going to share that information," Hebert told FOX 32 News Monday.
Despite the whirlwind of events, Dan Hebert told FOX 32 News Van Dyke is handling all of this well.
"He is very scared about the consequences that he is facing, concerned for his wife and children. But he is handling it like a professional."
McDonald had been running from police after a report the teen had been breaking into trucks on a lot near where he was shot. McDonald had PCP in his system and was carrying a 3-inch folding knife, and had slashed the tires of a police vehicle before he was shot near a busy intersection of 41st and Pulaski. At a press conference after Van Dyke was charged, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez noted that none of the other officers at the scene fired a shot at McDonald, and that the teen was moving away from officers when Van Dyke opened fire from 10 feet away.
Alvarez said last week she had made the decision charge Van Dyke with murder, but moved up her announcement of the charges ahead of the court-ordered release of a video she predicted would “tear at the heart of every Chicagoan.”
The video did prompt hundreds of Chicagoans to take to the streets, marching through the city Tuesday night in protest that led to the arrest of three demonstrators, and a series of Black Friday protests that disrupted business on the busy Michigan Avenue corridor — and gained national attention. Community activists have called for Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy’s resignation and independent investigation of the shooting.
The city in April paid out $5 million settlement to McDonald’s family, and had refused to release squad car video of the shooting, citing a pending investigation of the case, until a judge ordered to make the recording public last week in response to a records request from an independent journalist.
Alvarez said her office had been working with the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office on the investigation, but that she had made the decision to file murder charges against Van Dyke weeks before making her announcement out of concern for “public safety.” Federal investigators said last week their investigation of the shooting remains active.
Protesters again gathered outside the courthouse Monday, and have pledged to take to the streets for 16 straight days, symbolic of the 16 shots fired at McDonald.
Charging documents outlined the timeline of events the night of Oct. 20, 2014, when police first received reports of someone breaking into trucks on 41st and Kildare Avenue shortly before 10 p.m.
Multiple squad cars responded to the scene, and dashboard camera videos showed the teen jogging down Pulaski with squad cars following alongside him. Radio traffic shows officers asked for backup from officers armed with Tasers. According to charging documents, Van Dyke was on the scene for 30 seconds, and was outside his SUV for just six seconds, when he began shooting at McDonald, who was walking away from the officers as Van Dyke opened fire.
Van Dyke emptied his clip, and was reloading when his partner asked him to stop shooting so the partner could kick the knife out of McDonald’s hand. Prosecutors say 14 to 15 seconds passed between the first shot at the last, and that McDonald was crumpled on the ground for 13 seconds. McDonald died after being taken to Mt. Sinai Hospital.
An autopsy showed McDonald had wounds in the scalp, neck, chest, left elbow, both arms, and his back, and only two of the wounds—to the lower back and upper leg– could be “definitively linked” to the seconds when McDonald was standing.
Van Dyke’s wife last week started a GoFundMe page to raise money for his bond, but the website took the page down.