Judge Sets Bail Of $1.5 Million For Chicago Police Officer Who Shot Teen 16 Times

A bail of $1.5 million was set for the Chicago police officer who fatally shot a teen in October of 2014.

On Tuesday, Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder when he turned himself in to prosecutors for the shooting of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. The dashcam video from the day of the incident, October 20, 2014, shows the police officer shooting McDonald. The Chicago officer allegedly fired 16 shots at the 17-year-old, most of which were fired after the teen had hit the ground.

Chicago police officer who shot teen
A judge set bail for the Chicago police officer who shot and killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald [Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]According to USA Today, Judge Donald Panarese Jr., before setting the $1.5 million bail, indicated that the Chicago police officer was presumed innocent of the charges pressed against him.

Van Dyke appeared in court on Tuesday for a bond hearing; however, the judge was not presented with the dashcam video of the shooting, which he decided to review before setting the Chicago police officer's bail. Panarese requested the prosecutors bring in the dashcam video for review on Monday so that he could decide on bail for the officer.

Chicago police officer
A still of the dashcam video that depicts the death of Laquan McDonald who was shot 16 times by a Chicago police officer [Chicago Police Department via AP]The video in question shows McDonald walking away from police when he was shot by Van Dyke. Chicago police were on the scene responding to a 911 call that the teen was breaking into cars and was armed with a knife. Prosecutors say that the teen, who had PCP in his system at the time, had just slashed the tire of a Chicago police squad car, presumably with the knife he was wielding when he was shot. An officer can clearly be seen in the video kicking the weapon away from McDonald after the shooting.
Van Dyke's lawyer, Daniel Herbert, said that the Chicago police officer was acting out of self-defense when he shot the teen, who was armed and on a volatile hallucinogen at the time.

The video makes Van Dyke's actions seem like unnecessary slaughter of a teenager, but Herbert believes that there is additional evidence that will prove the police officer innocent of first-degree murder.

"When you see the video alone it does not seem like a justifiable shooting... There's certain things that I know that, quite frankly, no one else knows."
McDonald may have been a minor, but that does not mean he was a child. In addition to that, McDonald was armed and under the influence of a volatile hallucinogen, which has been known to make those who take it violent and unpredictable. Shooting the teen 16 times was horrifyingly excessive, however, the officer was faced with an armed and unpredictable assailant.

Chicago Fraternal Order of Police President Dean Angelo Sr. said that after watching the video, he believed that Van Dyke was "in his training mode" when he shot McDonald, as reported by the Chicago Sun-Times. Angelo felt that the officer did what "he believed at that time to be justified."

Chicago police officer who shot teen
Dean Angelo, president of Fraternal Order of Police Chicago Lodge 7, believes the Chicago police officer charged with the murder of Laquan McDonald was "in his training mode" at the time of the shooting (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Still, it's important to note that Van Dyke was the only officer on the scene to open fire at McDonald, who was clearly not attacking any officer at the time he was shot.

Before the video was released to the public, the story that was given by the Chicago police department made it seem that Van Dyke had only opened fire at McDonald after the teen lunged at him, which is clearly not evident from the video.

Chicago police officer
Crowds in Chicago protest after the release of the video of Laquan McDonald being shot by a police officer 16 times [Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]Chicago officials are facing the outrage of activists after the video of McDonald's death was made available to the public. Widespread protests covered Chicago streets in response to the year-long delay of the video's release. Black Friday shopping was impeded as a result of the protests across the city. Protesters promise to continue their efforts for 16 days to symbolize the 16 shots Van Dyke fired at the teen.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez is currently being confronted with the Chicago community's indignation for the amount of time it took to press charges against Van Dyke for the teen's death and the delayed release of the video that captured the incident on camera. The video had been withheld from the public and was only released after a judge's order last week.

Alvarez claimed that the time her office took to charge the police officer was justifiably spent reviewing the case and the evidence against the police officer. Alvarez commented that she had been waiting to press charges against Van Dyke because of a pending FBI investigation into the shooting. As a result, the state's attorney is currently being pressured to resign.

Chicago police officer charged with first-degree murder
Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez charged Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke with first-degree murder for the shooting of Laquan McDonald [Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images]The Chicago police officer will return to court on December 18 to stand trial for the murder of Laquan McDonald.

(Photo courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's Office via AP)