CHICAGO — Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago Police officer charged with murdering Laquan McDonald, has been hired by the Fraternal Order of Police.
"Weeks ago, the FOP reached a decision to assist the Van Dyke family," said union president Dean Angelo, Sr. in a Thursday afternoon statement. The "notoriety of the incident" compounded with "on-going threats of harm and intimidation" have rendered Van Dyke "completely unemployable," Angelo said.
Van Dyke, who has been suspended without pay from the Police Department, is not the first officer to be helped with a job by the Fraternal Order of Police after a shooting, Angelo said.
Around noon Thursday, activist Ja'mal Green led a handful of protesters outside the union's West Loop headquarters to call for Angelo's ouster.
"From the beginning [the union] has been protecting this officer, Jason Van Dyke, and now they gave him a job," Green said outside the building Thursday. "So we're here today to say 'Listen FOP, this is not the right message you should be sending to Chicago residents.'"
"We know Van Dyke is gonna have his day in court, but if I killed someone, I wouldn't have a union to give me a job," he continued. "...Jason Van Dyke should not have the support of the FOP at this time, when we are trying desperately to build trust between the community and police officers in the city of Chicago."
Green and other activists stood at the building's entrance, demanding to be let in and taunting the line of sergeants from the Near West District who guarded the door.
"Is Van Dyke in there? Is he working today?" the protesters asked the officers.
The group also engaged in a prolonged shouting match with Gary Snow, a pro-police activist and manager of the Chicago Code BLUE Facbeook page, who held a one-man counter-protest down the street.
The union could not immediately be reached for comment. But the Sun-Times says that the union decided to hire him after the paper called a few weeks ago asking if the FOP had him on the payroll.
The Rev. Michael Pfleger, an anti-violence activist and pastor of St. Sabina church, voiced his objections to the hiring in a public Facebook post late Wednesday:
The F.O.P. has just Hired VAN DYKE, Yes the Cop who Murdered Laquan McDonald....The Police Union says to Chicago we don'...Posted by Father Michael Pfleger on Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Van Dyke has pleaded not guilty to the murder charges.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: