Officer Jason Van Dyke: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Jason Van Dyke, Laquan McDonald

Officer Jason Van Dyke in 2012. (Twitter/Idschi)

A white Chicago police officer has been charged with first-degree murder after he fatally shot a black teen in October 2014.

Officer Jason Van Dyke, who has been the target of several complaints accusing him of excessive force and making racial slurs, is on paid desk duty. Van Dyke, 37, shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times while he was 12 to 15 feet away, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Van Dyke turned himself in Tuesday, the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office said in a press release. A judge has ordered that he be held without bail.

McDonald’s family settled a lawsuit with the city for $5 million in April. McDonald was holding a knife when he was shot. He was suspected of committing a robbery prior to the shooting, which came at the end of a foot chase.

Video of the shooting will be released Tuesday. You can watch the video here.

Here’s what you need to know about Van Dyke and the shooting:

1. He’s the First Chicago Police Officer to Be Charged With First-Degree Murder in an On-Duty Shooting

Jason Van Dyke, Jason Van Dyke mugshot, Jason Van Dyke booking photo

Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder. (Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office)

Jason Van Dyke arrived at court Tuesday morning to face charges in the shooting.

Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer charged with first-degree murder in an on-duty shooting. A federal civil rights investigation is still ongoing.

You can read the details of the state’s case against Van Dyke below:

View this document on Scribd

Van Dyke was the only officer among five at the scene to fire at McDonald. He opened fire just six seconds after getting out of his vehicle, while the other officers tried to surround McDonald, while waiting for a Taser.

According to the Chicago Tribune, officers began to follow McDonald after he was allegedly trying to break into vehicles at a trucking yard. The officers followed him for nearly a half-mile, through a Burger King parking lot and onto a busy street. The officers were waiting for backup units with Tasers and tried to corral McDonald to keep him away from passers-by, the Tribune reported.

The caller reporting the attempted break-ins at the trucking yard had told police McDonald was armed with a knife and had threatened him with it. He also punctured a tire of a police vehicle that was following him and struck the vehicle’s windshield.

The shooting was recorded on a dashboard camera in a police vehicle. A judge ruled on November 19 that the city must release the video to the public by November 25, and the city has said it will not appeal. The city had previously argued the video should not be released because of pending investigations.

Laquan McDonald, Jason van dyke

Laquan McDonald (Family photo)

An attorney for McDonald’s family, Jeffrey Neslund, described what the video shows to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Neslund said the video shows McDonald walking west in the middle of Pulaski Street with a knife in his right hand. Two officers jump out of a SUV with their guns drawn. McDonald can be seen continuing to walk west, with a lane of traffic separating him from the officers. One of the officers, later identified as Jason Van Dyke, begins shooting from about 12 to 15 feet away from McDonald. The teen is spun around by the first shots and the officer continues firing. McDonald falls to the ground and an officer walks up to him and kicks the knife out of his hand.

McDonald, who had PCP in his system, was shot 16 times, including in chest, neck, back, arms and leg, an autopsy found.

2. Van Dyke’s Attorney Says He Was in Fear for His Life

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Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke. (Facebook)

An attorney for Officer Van Dyke says his client followed police procedure and didn’t commit any wrongdoing, saying he felt he was in fear for his life. He has also said he is concerned the video could cause someone to do harm to Van Dyke, because they will not understand the context of what it shows.

“The video is graphic, disturbing and difficult to watch, as any video of a man being shot to death would be,” Herbert told the Tribune. “It’s impossible from viewing the video to determine exactly what my client was experiencing at the time in which he fired the shots. … It’s not showing from his eyes, which is an important distinction.”

The police union also says Van Dyke was in fear for his life.

“The officers are responding to someone with a knife in a crazed condition who stabs out tires on a vehicle, on a squad car,” Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden told the Chicago Tribune. “You obviously aren’t going to sit down and have a cup of coffee with him. He is a very serious threat to the officers, and he leaves them no choice at that point but to defend themselves.”

The police department said in a statement the day after the shooting that McDonald refused orders to drop the knife and continued to approach the officers before he was shot.

3. His Wife Started a Now-Deleted GoFundMe Page to Raise Money

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Van Dyke. (Facebook)

Van Dyke is married and has two children. His wife, Tiffany Van Dyke, started a GoFundMe page on the day her husband was arrested. The page was deleted after about $10,000 was raised, NBC Chicago reports.

Tiffany Van Dyke wrote on the page, “My husband is having a bond hearing and if we do not raise this money he will be detained on 11/24/15. With the holidays approaching our husband and father needs to be home with his family. I sincerely thank you in advance for your kind donation. I do not want to have to fight this battle alone nor can we afford to fight it.”

The page was taken down by 11 a.m.

“He is scared to death about possible outcomes here,” his attorney, Daniel Herbert, said during a press conference Friday afternoon. “But he has been a professional and he has really been selfless. His concern is for his wife and his two young kids who are in grammar school.”

Jason Van Dyke, 37, has been a Chicago police officer since 2001. According to the Chicago Tribune, he has spent most of his career working in high-crime areas.

He spent four years working for a specialized unit that “aggressively” went into neighborhoods experiencing spikes in violent crimes, the Tribune reports. The unit was disbanded by police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

He then served as a patrol officer in the Englewood police district, which the newspaper says is one of the most violent neighborhoods in the city. He was transferred to the Chicago Lawn district in 2013, which is where the McDonald shooting occurred.

4. Citizens Have Filed 18 Complaints Against Him, Including Claims He Made Racial Slurs

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According to data recently released by the University of Chicago Law School’s Citizen Police Data Project, citizens have made 18 complaints against Jason Van Dyke since 2006. The complaints include accusations of excessive force and claims he made racial slurs.

He has never been disciplined. You can see details on all of the complaints here. The New York Times has also obtained documents about the complaints.

Van Dyke was accused of calling a suspect the n-word in January 2013. Then, in December 2013, Van Dyke was accused of calling suspects the n-word while serving a search warrant. He was cleared in both incidents.

In April 2008, a suspect accused Van Dyke of unjustifiably pointing his gun at him after he had been tackled to the ground by his partner.

In 2011 he was accused of choking a suspect who had been charged with driving under the influence. The suspect said Van Dyke smelled a cough drop on the suspect’s breath and told him to spit it out. When the suspect refused, Van Dyke allegedly grabbed him by the throat and began choking him.

5. A Jury Found He Committed Excessive Force While Handcuffing a Suspect in 2007

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Officer Jason Van Dyke. (Facebook)

A federal jury in a civil case found that Van Dyke and his partner used excessive force on a suspect, Ed Nance, in 2007. Van Dyke, who was found to have used the excessive force while handcuffing the man, was not disciplined, despite the city paying $350,000 to the suspect and $180,000 in legal fees to his attorneys.

The city investigators cleared Van Dyke because they said there were no witnesses to the alleged excessive force.

“They looked like, OK, so what, go (back) to work,” Nance told the Chicago Tribune. “They was back on the street like nothing ever happened.”

The incident occurred in July 2007, when Nance was pulled over, allegedly for not having a front license plate, though Nance denied that claim.

You can read Nance’s claims against Van Dyke below:

According to Nance, Van Dyke pulled his arms back violently while forcibly handcuffing him, causing injuries to his shoulder tendons and rotater cuff.

Van Dyke claimed he was worried Nance was dangerous because he hadn’t pulled over immediately, according to court documents. He said it “just didn’t feel right.” He said Nance was loud and belligerent, so he feared he might be violent or have a weapon.




i only come here for the comments ,much more interesting than the article,and also you all suck


He is just another racist that our society allowed to become a cop with a big ego small manhood and a gun. They will take care of his ass in prison.


I can clearly see why Van Dyke’s attorney claims his client was in fear for his life. Van Dyke looks like a straight-up pedophile who is only used to over-powering little boys!


I wonder what, if this kid’s so-called “family” were given a chance by God to have the kid back or keep the $5 M, might choose. My guess, to quote a local Chicago ambulance-chasing law firm’s tv commercial, would be “Hail no, cuz now weez livin’ da goot life”. Just a thought…


A violent city begets violent police officers. The south side of Chicago is a war zone, and ought to be patrolled by the National Guard, and all the ‘bangers ought to be tried for terrorism by Homeland Security. The largest pool of potential police recruits these days are probably recent war vets anyway.


It’s not the skin colour. The problem is what is inside a man…..we r all born with it……sad


I’ve read the comments. Nothing surprises me anymore. As a Black woman, ex law enforcement, and college educated, I got a chance to escape poverty, and to travel the world. I lived in Chicago for a few years too. I learned something, having seen both sides of the coin. For one thing, not all White people are benefitting from “White Privilege.” I ran into lots of White people thst were denied jobs, due to the results of Affirmative Action. This made them angry and bitter, causing them to believe that minorities get all of the breaks. I also got tired of seeing many inner city Black people (in certain cities) that refused to take advantage of what they have. They had the opportunities that wasn’t afforded to their forefathers. I also get tired of seeing Black people look to hypocrites like Jesse Jackass, Al “Pussy” Sharpton, and Louis “Cock Sucker” Farrakhan. Those three niggers have stirred up so much shit,and keep up more controversy than LaToya Jackson’s Psychic Hotlines. The point that I’m making is that we all must admit our weaknesses, while trying to understand the concerns of the other races. That’s the only thing that will make this shit go away. I admit that all White people are not benefitting from a “White Privilege.” I admit that Jesse and Al are dick heads. I also admit that many Black people waste their opportunities, and some cry like babies over stupid shit. However, it doesn’t mean that being Black automatically means easy welfare checks, easy opportunities, and that racism doesn’t exist anymore. Laquan lost his life when he didn’t have to. This is why I decided to end my law enforcement career. I can never justify this type of behavior. I realize some people will be pissed by what I said. I don’t care.

An educated realist

THANK YOU for this. So many responders here–both black and white– have demonstrated just how cognitively single-celled so-called “humans” can be I have posted some comments on here that I felt bad about even as I typed them, and I recognize that they were knee-jerk responses to hearing about how terrible “crackers” are.

I’m a white female who can very much appreciate your global perspective on this matter because, as we both know, even though this subject has been broken down so basally into color issues, nothing is truly black and white. I read daily about African Americans being wanted locally for murder, theft, armed robbery, credit card fraud, etc, and I see in the “monthly mug shot database” that roughly 75% of such perpetrators are black. I’ve lived in areas where I’ve been jumped by a group of black women, as has my daughter when she was 12! Simply for being white. I’ve been sexually assaulted by a black man, had my property robbed by a different black man, and seen blacks who were inarticulate, unqualified, had lost work ethics and a strong sense of entitlement being promoted over me simply because they were black and I was white. I see blacks killing each other, then blaming us every time they are confronted with their own behavior. Yes, it absolutely breeds resentment.

However, I also find that the VAST majority of black people I interact with on a daily basis are friendly, kind, considerate, and hard working citizens. Maybe I have the benefit of seeing this because I am polite and deferential to ALL people, and recognize that at the end of the day, NO ONE STEREOTYPE is accurate across the board. I’ve also had a white husband who beat and raped me, been sexually harassed by men black, white, and other races during my time in the military, and have lifelong good friends who are of color. Thus, though I am one of those people who, despite being white, have had a very difficult life, in the end I truly believe it all comes down to how WE TREAT EACH OTHER.

I think it’s paramount that we shift our viewpoints from ones centered on race and decisive rhetoric about which is better, and to instead foster a perspective where we realize we are all in this thing together and everyone deserves to be treated with respect until they prove otherwise. I don’t think my other comments reflect that. Admittedly, they come off as patently racist, and I think it demonstrates the point I’m making now: many of us react first, think later–and it’s a HUGE contributor to the racial tension our country is mired with.

So thank you for making me slow down, take a breath, and realize that I was just part of the problem and not the solution. I’m not at all proud of that, and certainly not too proud to admit I was wrong!

Lyndia Black

I am Black and college educated, also. After reading 5 facts about Jason, I am surprised that you cannot see that he was a rouge cop. Too many complaints about the same behavior, should have been a CLEAR indication, that this is not the type of person that should have been on ANY police department. The names that YOU called Jesse Jackson, Louis Farrakhan, and Al Sharpton, says a lot about you. You sound like a member of the “I hate myself” club. Until the same things happens to you or one of your family members, I think, will be the ONLY time that YOU will have a better understanding of the situations, that many Blacks face EVERYDAY, if you are Black, which I seriously doubt. But nice try. Your screen name, also says a lot about you and what you think of yourself, chocolate pussy. Disgusting

Sarah Bellem

I am as white as they come, but I have learned some things over my 60 years. I take this opportunity to all those who have as their only offense “guilty for being black” This is a shame on America and our wilful lack of investment in ALL of our people’s capital, not just racist white Christians. We should all step back and see what will help these problems. I assure you it isn’t putting 16 rounds in a teenager with a 3″ knife in his hand. Putting Van Dyke away for the rest of his life is a start.

Sarah Bellem

This rogue police officer should have been stopped sooner, for that the city is truly liable. This is a clear case of a white racist Christian rogue who needs to be separated from our society. Looks like he will get some good, long time. Let prison justice take care of him. He is a menace to what America represents

An educated realist

Wow. In such a scant amount of words, you have very succinctly and sadly demonstrated the exact mentality that causes black people to have such disdain for whites. I know you’re just trolling, but I wonder if you ever take a moment to step back and ask yourself: what are YOU contributing to society? There is absolutely nothing whatsoever of value or substance in your remark. Stupidly-worded, ignorant and devisive comments put you into the negative, points-wise, when it comes to social contribution. You are just promoting and fueling the problem, not in any way helping it. That makes you nothing more than an annoying stain on the social fabric of this era. Good work!!


If people acted wright shit like this would not happen. If you are innocent and offices says put your hands up that’s what you do.if your guilty that’s when bad shit happens.


all of this racist crap needs to stop. All of these people on here just being hateful… is not a white and black thing its cops abuse and have too much power. We see cops from all over the usa do shit like this and it costs so much to prosecute them. and their stupid fraternal order crap, they have this so they cannot lose their job and have backup from their frat buddies. i have met on a personal level many cops probably over 30. i have only liked 2 of them the other ones were arrogant punks who thought their shit didnt stink because they carry a gun and wear a badge. the have no respeect for others and they are always trying to find the easy way out and cheat the system. its ridiclulous and its not about race its about having underqualified people policing are city. most of these cops are uneducated and are just mean spirited at heart. granted there are some good ones out there but hte badf ones out weigh the good ones by a lot. why dont these guys use tasers……..i thought those things were non-lethal. i mean come on some guy messed up on drugs and 3 police officers cant stop him. he is scared for his life….come on how stupid are we and the city of chicago. thats why he had to shoot his gun 16 times to make sure a druggie was subdued. why not a shot to the leg or even better pull that taser out and use it. im sure he will get off some how…..i hope he gets put in prison for the rest of his life and doesnt see the light of day for the act he pulled


Thousands of black Americans killing black Americans here in Chicago among these Mass Killings are Children, women and bystanders.
White Man Killing black Man: “black lives matter”
black Man Killing black Man: “Stop Snitching”


It’s heartbreaking to see a kid in the middle of the street dying, alone, while none of the surrounding officers are even helping. Setting aside for a minute that Van Dyke shot sixteen times however, would there be the same outrage if he had shot only once or twice? While this is tragic, and as a father I can’t even imagine the devastation McDonald’s family must feel, my question is whether Van Dyke should have shot or not?

When I first heard the details of the case, it seemed cut and dry…Van Dyke should get the chair. But when I read the details for myself, I’m not so sure he shouldn’t have shot at all. Again, Van Dyke shot 16 times and so off-with-his-head, but again, we’re setting that aside for a moment. Consider the situation:

An ostensibly grown man (17 or not, he’s a big dude and it’s dark – could’ve been 30+ yrs old) walking down the middle of a busy street waiving a knife, acting erratically (was found to have been on PCP), had just slashed the tires on a squad car and apparently tried to break the windshield. What do you do if you’re a cop? You’re not going to try to fight the guy and risk getting stabbed. Cops had been waiting for a taser for awhile and trying to corral McDonald with their cars in the meantime so that was good…but what if a family happened to walk by at that moment and McDonald attacked them randomly? What if a car stopped to avoid hitting McDonald and McDonald threw open the door, assaulted the driver and took off with an even more deadly weapon? Any number of terrible things could’ve happened when you have a large, violent man running down the street carrying a knife. I think we’re forgetting that McDonald was a drugged out, knife-wielding robber with a clear disregard for the law and anybody’s general safety. As a Chicago citizen, I’m glad Van Dyke was there with a gun to stop him.

Now, the fact that Van Dyke aggravatedly shot McDonald sixteen times changes the entire dynamic and the focus shifts to outright murder; and Van Dyke should go down for this forever, but what if it was just one shot? Would there be the same outrage? I’d hope not.

Sarah Bellem

I don’t think he should get the chair since I doubt he went to the scene intent on killing this boy. certainly a racist predisposition is credible. You can see the anti-Muslim tee shirt he was wearing. So Muslims may have been his next victims. Thankfully, this will get him off the street for good. He won’t be able to own a gun anymore. Laquan sadly, had to pay the ultimate price.

Bhagavad Gita


The “Dark” Illuminati Mafia-Style International Banksters are mostly Atheistic (Crowley-LaVeyan) Satanist practitioners. They view most of the human race as 666 Base/Beast-level in consciousness/sheep-like, (thought-6, emotion-6, action-6, as inactive/incomplete). They view their NWO Police and Military as 667 Base/Beast-level in consciousness/sheep & sheep attacking wolf/dog-like (thought-6, emotion-6, inactive/incomplete… HOWEVER …Action-7, as active/complete, and useful to their New World Order plans. Even the logo symbolism e.g. The Fraternal Order of Police Logo, or the new post 9/11 USAF Logo etc, all means something to these people at the top of the elite power structure pyramid. Look up these logo symbols and know.

Very few humans ever reach and or maintain 777 consciousness which is divine-like human/God/Krishna/Buddha/Christ-like consciousness.

So the “Dark” Illuminated ones use the Police and Military as a buffer. They are used as the buffer between the Dark Occultist’s/The Darkly Illuminated Ones and the public to basically protect these Dark Occultist’s interest’s and stomp all over the rights of the public in the process. I imagine one could put most sold-out materialist minded Judges, Lawyers, Politicians, and big corporations/owners into this above-mentioned 666/667 Base/Beast-level category description (see/bing-image Satanic Corporate Logos) … as this is fast becoming a huge trend.

Youtube: Mark Passio: Secrets of The Satanic Occult Exposed – Down The Rabbit Hole w/ Popeye (02-12-2015)

“A Complete Macrobiotic Yin Yang Philosophic Understanding Combined With Its Practical Dietary Discipline Is Timeless Universal Law… All Other Teachings Are Incomplete.”
~ Michio Kushi & Yukikazu Sakurazawa a.k.a.- George Ohsawa.


When will these feral niggers understand? Stay out of trouble and you won’t get shot dead. Laughable how the media makes this waste of space into some choir boy. He’s a violent criminal. Typical negro. The world is better off without him.


Van Dyke is , and has always been, unfit for duty. Evidently, he was a very expensive mistake given how much has been paid-out to victims. The City and frankly the State should take all they have to ensure this piece of work is put away. On the GoFund issue at $10K, just a bunch of douch cops jumping in to support Van Dyke. On Van Dyke’s lawyers comments re “feared for his life….blah blah blah…” this lawyer dude with the bad haircut is going to get crushed, like his client. Good riddance.


So all these comments coming from hate can’t see the real problem is cops don’t need guns in this day and age. Take away the guns from the police. Non lethal devices for them will make sure they do their job correctly.


This guy needs to be put into general population and not be protected, let him live in fear everyday. F*cking worthless piece of shit. Glorified security c*nt


The cops are way out of control. The way they are trained is over-the-top agressive. They need to change the way the cops are trained. It has always been like this, but it seems to be getting worse. Or people are just finding out about it with dash-cams and social media.

AZ guy

Kid should have been tased, cuffed and arrested. Being a thug and being stupid does not warrant being gunned down in cold blooded murder. This cop was not in danger, is mentally unfit to out alone and he will be found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison. Here is a bulletin to all cops, use only the force required to subdue a person/situation. With all the spotlights on you now, use your damn heads. Black Lives Matter and the racial pimps like Jackson, Obama and Sharpton could care less about blacks killing blacks but they sure as hell care about cops killing blacks, regardless or not as to whether it is justified. These rouge cops are putting every other cop’s lives in danger.

An educated realist

It’s true he should have been tased, and we all should be asking why, out of SIX responding officers, there wasn’t a taser among any of them? It’s the most violent city in the country, yet officers are sent out each day woefully lacking in basic instruments? Ridiculous! If I still lived in Chicago, I’d be livid.

As for this scenario,I heartily agree that this officer was way too trigger happy and the situation certainly didn’t warrant a shooting. But people who think tasers are aadequate in EVERY situation need to keep in mind that sometimes a suspect may be under the influence of a substance that renders tasing essentially useless. PCP, which this individual was found to have in his system, is one such substance.

However, there is a basic code of law enforcement regarding escalation of force that was completely ignored by this officer, and he should absolutely be held accountable.


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