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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
(Photo courtesy of Cook County Sheriff’s Office via AP)