Catholic priest angered by the move
The Fraternal Order of Police has hired Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, who is charged with six counts of murder in the shooting death Laquan McDonald, 17.
McDonald’s murder sparked weeks of protests by Black Lives Matter on swanky North Michigan Avenue and throughout Chicago that led to the firing of Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy. Anita Alvarez, the Cook County, Ill., State’s Attorney, also lost by a wide margin her recent bid for re-election. Kim Foxx, Alvarez’s opponent, captured 58 percent of the vote to Alvarez’s 29 percent.
A FOP spokesperson said on Thursday the organization hired Van Dyke as a janitor at FOP headquarters because he was having financial difficulties. He earns $12 per hour, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Before he lost his job, McCarthy placed Van Dyke on “no pay status” after a judge ordered the release of a police dashcam video showing the deadly shooting of McDonald as he ran away from police cars. The video contradicted the cops’ stories that they feared for their lives.
Van Dyke, who has at least 20 police brutality complaints lodged against him, fired 16 shots in 13 seconds. None of the other officers at the scene pulled their guns.
Van Dyke earned more than $78,000 a year before he was put on no-pay status. At one time, Van Dyke’s wife posted a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay his legal fees. The page has since been removed.
The FOP’s decision to hire Van Dyke angered Father Michael Pfleger, an activist Roman Catholic priest. “The F.OP. has just hired Van Dyke, yes, the cop who murdered Laquan McDonald …The police union says to Chicago…we don’t give a damn what he did, what you think, he is one of ours, and we are going to take care of him…we get a new Supt. who is trying to restore police and community relations and the Union just set them back all over again! This is a disgrace…Fire the whole union. Every union member should demand he be fired!!!!!!”
Van Dyke is charged with the deadly shooting of McDonald that occurred on Oct. 20, 2014. Alvarez, however, did not charge Van Dyke until November 24, 2015, 13 months later.
She was forced to act after a judge ordered the release of the dashcam video, which showed McDonald holding a three-inch pin knife as he ran from police. Activists also had been pushing for Alvarez to release the dashcam video.
After the video’s release, Black Lives Matter members marched down North Michigan Avenue chanting “16 shots and a cover up.” They also blocked entrances to stores on Michigan Avenue.
The City of Chicago paid McDonald’s family $5 million to close the case even before the family filed a lawsuit.