Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke shot 17-year-old high school student Laquan McDonald 16 times in October 2014. The dashcam video of the shooting sparked an outrage at the city’s policing and the subsequent handling of the case by city officials all the way up to Mayor Rahm Emanuel added to the furor. Now, the city is facing a civil rights investigation by the Department of Justice and Officer Van Dyke has been charged with first-degree murder and has been suspended without pay while awaiting trial. In the meantime, Van Dyke has been hired by the Fraternal Order of Police union as a janitor, and many people aren’t happy about it.
The head of the FOP, Dean Angelo, confirmed to the Chicago Sun-Times that Van Dyke was working a $12-an-hour job with the union because he couldn’t find work. “He might be on the roof, he might be in the office, he does anything we need,” Angelo said of Van Dyke. “We’ve probably had 100 people in no-pay status who we got jobs or hired at the hall. This is nothing new.”
While the practice may not be new for the union, the current climate around policing in America has changed and the scrutiny police departments have faced in recent years is certainly new. “Not only is it insulting and outrageous, but it is a slap in the face. It is the reason we have this continued breakdown between law enforcement and community,” the Rev. Michael L. Pfleger, a community activist in Chicago, told ABC News. “This is much bigger than Laquan McDonald. This is an insult to the city of Chicago. It is an insult to him and his family, and it is an insult, I think, to police officers.”
The Chicago Police Department said it had nothing to do with the hiring.