Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke, imprisoned for fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, left jail on Monday night. Although charged with first degree murder for McDonald’s death, Van Dyke was released after less than a week of incarceration because, according to his lawyer, he “[doesn’t] pose a flight risk.”
According to CBS News, Van Dyke’s bail was set at $1.5 million. He therefore needed to pay $150,000 to be freed. After the local chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police raised money for him, channeling it through his wife—first through a GoFundMe and then through a page on their website—he posted bail on Monday and was released amidst hoards of reporters around 5 p.m. that evening. He awaits trial in the meantime.
GoFundMe has since removed the campaign for Van Dyke and refunded all of the donations.
McDonald’s brutal death was captured on dashcam, and it was later determined that he had been shot by Van Dyke 16 times. CBS News reports,
“McDonald can be seen walking down the middle of a four-lane street. He appears to veer away from two officers as they emerge from a vehicle, drawing their guns. One of the officers, Van Dyke, opens fire from close range. McDonald spins around and crumples to the ground. The officer continues to fire.”
Prosecutors argued that, given the circumstances of this violent shooting, Van Dyke should be held without bail. Since the Chicago court released the dashcam video, protestors have been marching in the city’s streets. Further examination has also revealed that, although McDonald carried a knife the day he was killed, “the three inch blade recovered from the scene had been folded into the handle.”
Nonetheless, Van Dyke’s lawyer, Daniel Herbert, maintains that “his client feared for his life, acted lawfully and that the video did not tell the whole story.”
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