The Chicago Orders of Police (FOP) hired Jason Van Dyke about three weeks ago. Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald.After the charges against him, according to Chicago Fox 32 News, he's been doing janitorial work. He was suspended without pay, and with the dire circumstances around his suspension, finding gainful employment has been nearly impossible. The Fraternal Order says they are helping out a fellow officer who was suspended without pay.
Current and former police officials believe it sends a bad message to the community who hugely distrust a police department that is trying to rebuild its trust after a number of high-profile police shootings.
"If we're trying to restore any kind of credibility in the neighborhood and bridge that gap between police and the community it's not a good look," said Officer Joseph Shaw.
Van Dyke was hired to do janitorial duties overnight."We do this for our membership and this is what the FOP stands for, fraternalism. This officer is in a very difficult situation, financially, he has a family and we would do it for anybody that works as a Chicago Police officer," said FOP President Dean Angelo Sr.
Van Dyke lost other part-time jobs due to the charge. There were also threats to shut down his wife's business.
"This is not the first time we've employed someone in our building that could not gain employment due to the nature of the event that they've been involved in," Angelo Sr. said.
After the high-profile shooting of Latanya Haggarty in 1999 by Officer Serena Daniels, who lost her job as a result, the Fraternal Officer's Department hired her on as a receptionist.
"Even though it's not the first time that the FOP has employed a fellow officer who has been suspended for misconduct, it doesn't make it right," said retired officer Pat Hill.
The FOP told Chicago Fox News people should remember that Van Dyke is innocent until proven guilty. The union believes its choice to hire Van Dyke is not unethical and they have nothing to apologize about.
Jason Van Dyke was charged in the October 2014 shooting death of Laquan McDonald, a 17-year-old boy. The video shows McDonald walking away swiftly from Van Dyke when the officer shoots him 16 times. Van Dyke was charged in 2015 only after the dash-cam video was released showing the exchange between the two.
The video sparked outrage and resulted in protests across the city, especially since McDonald was another young black man shot by a police officer. Van Dyke has a disciplinary record that should have prompted a faster response by city officials. The U.S. Department of Justice called for the resignation of former CPD Superintendent Garry McCarthy, Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, and May Rahm Emanuel.
Being a political year, Alvarez is paying for her decision to wait more than a year before charging Van Dyke. #ByeAnita has been all over social media as of late. Voters picked challenger Kim Foxx over Alvarez by almost 30 percentage points. Critics believe Alvarez dragged her feet in bringing charges against Van Dyke because he is a police officer.Alvarez possessed written statements by two former officers that clearly contradicted what happened at the scene, reported the Chicago Tribune.
The two former officers have filed lawsuits against the Chicago Police Department.
"The police who saw the killing and filed false reports, they're suing the police, and they cannot be disciplined by the new chief. If those who filed false reports cannot be disciplined, and those who kill people are hired by the FOP, that further bankrupts the system and leaves us without the ability to trust that system," said Rev. Jesse Jackson.
Jackson said a rally will be held at Rainbow/PUSH Coalition headquarters on Saturday when he will call on Mayor Rahm Emanuel to act.
Other community activists have planned rallies outside the FOP headquarters as early as Thursday.
[Photo by Paul Beaty/AP Images]