Cop back in court: Chicago Cop Court

Published: December 1, 2015

Cop back in court: Chicago Cop Court, A Chicago police officer facing a first-degree murder charge for shooting a teen 16 times was released from county jail Monday evening, hours after a judge set bond at $1.5 million.

Officer Jason Van Dyke had been in jail since Tuesday after prosecutors charged him with the Oct. 20, 2014, shooting of Laquan McDonald. Also on Tuesday, the city released dashcam video that shows the teen, who is black, being shot by Van Dyke, who is white.

This Nov. 24, 2015 file photo released by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office shows Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, who was charged with first degree murder after a squad car video caught him fatally shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. Van Dyke is scheduled to return to court Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, to learn whether he’ll be offered bond. (Photo: AP)

Ben Breit, a Cook County sheriff’s department spokesman, said late Monday afternoon that Van Dyke posted bail – 10% of the bail set by the judge, or $150,000 – and was released.

Protesters took to Chicago streets for several days after the video release and the announcement of the charges.

Lamon Reccord, an organizer of the protests, expressed frustration that Van Dyke was able to post bail.

“I think the protests were largely peaceful, because he was in jail,” Reccord said at a prayer vigil in front of police department headquarters Monday evening. “There’s going to be a lot of anger. I want it to be peaceful, but I worry there could now be damage.”

Another protester, Jedidiah Brown, an activist from the city’s South Side who is black, said that Van Dyke’s release sends the wrong message to Chicago.

“When Van Dyke walked out, what that said to me is that my life doesn’t matter to this mayor and this city,” Brown said.

Judge Donald Panarese Jr. noted before setting the bail Monday that Van Dyke is presumed innocent.

Daniel Herbert, Van Dyke’s attorney, argued that Van Dyke is no threat to the public and should be given a reasonable bond. The attorney expressed relief after the judge set bond.

Van Dyke appeared in court Tuesday for a bond hearing, but prosecutors did not present the judge with the dashcam video. Panarese ordered lawyers to return to court Monday afternoon, so he could decide on bail after viewing the video.

The video shows McDonald, who prosecutors say punctured a tire of a squad car prior to the shooting, veering away from police when Van Dyke shoots the teen. Van Dyke fired 13 of the shots while McDonald was on the ground, the video shows.

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