A Cook County judge has set a $1.5 million bond on Monday for Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke on a first-degree murder charge. Van Dyke is accused of shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times, resulting in his death.
Officer Van Dyke, who has been held without bail since Tuesday, was shown on a graphic 2014 police dash-cam video shooting the teen shortly after arriving on South Pulaski Road. Laquan McDonald (who officers were trying to corral after he’d been breaking into vehicles in a trucking yard through a Burger King parking lot, and who officers said was brandishing a knife) suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his scalp, chest, neck, back, arms, and his right hands and leg.
According to reports, within six seconds of exiting his police vehicle, Van Dyke opened fire, emptying his 16-round chamber—13 of the gunshots hitting Laquan McDonald execution style, while he was on the ground. VanDyke, reportedly, reloaded his firearm before his partner asked him to cease fire.
The dash-cam video contradicts the narrative of self-defense claimed by the police department and union, and came to the public’s attention after a concerned whistleblower approached journalist Jamie Kalven and attorney Craig Futterman a year ago, with the information. After the release of the year-old video, protesters took to the streets to advocate justice for Laquan and against state violence against countless others in Chicago’s South Side. According to Jason Van Dyke has had at least 18 complaints filed against him, 8 of which allege excessive force. Laquan’s death is in a growing list of other Black men, women, and children gunned down, profiled, treated with excessive force, and sexually assaulted by police officers within the past year, with impunity.
Earlier this month, the trial for former Oklahoma City police officer Daniel Holtzclaw began with little to no coverage by mainstream media outlets. Holtzclaw is currently standing trial and faces 36 charges for sexually assaulting 13 Black women, ranging in ages from 17 to 57. The charges against Holtzclaw, who pleaded not guilty, include rape, stalking, forced oral sodomy, and sexual battery.