Cop Who Shot Laquan McDonald Walks Free Thanks to Crowdfunded Bail

by
Priyanka Prasad
Police garnered the support of an appallingly willing public to crowdfund Jason Van Dyke's bail.

Jason Van Dyke

Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke was charged last week with first-degree murder for shooting 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in October of 2014. Judge Donald Paranese Jr. set his bail at $1.5 million, stating, “I'm not here to determine guilt or innocence. The law gives a presumption of innocence."

This means Van Dyke needed to present $150,000 to post bail, which his fellow cops more than helped him out with. The Fraternal Order of the Police’s local Chicago chapter set up a GoFundMe page, as well a page on their website to which people could donate. The crowdsourcing led to Van Dyke acquiring the amount he needed for his bail, and he left jail Monday evening amidst a horde of reporters.

Van Dyke spent less than a week incarcerated; according to his lawyer, this is because “he doesn’t pose a flight risk.”

Prosecutors initially fought to keep Van Dyke sans bail, considering the violent nature of the crime and the disturbing evidence that surfaced via dashcam footage. Chicago has seen hundreds of protestors convene within the last week to voice their outrage concerning McDonald’s death and general distrust and disillusionment with police.

Van Dyke is now awaiting trial.  

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