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Bond set at $1.5M for Chicago officer who fatally shot teen

01 December 2015, 11:51

Chicago — A white Chicago police officer charged with murder after a squad car video showed him fatally shooting a black teenager 16 times posted a $1.5 million bond Monday.

Officer Jason Van Dyke had been locked up since November 24, when prosecutors charged him with first-degree murder in the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald. On the same day, authorities released the dash cam video that shows McDonald — armed with a small knife and walking down a street on the city's southwest side — being shot repeatedly by the 37-year-old Van Dyke.

The bond amount meant Van Dyke needed $150,000 to be released. Attorney Dan Herbert said his client is "very scared about the consequences he is facing."

Also on Monday, an online threat against the University of Chicago that led the school to cancel all classes and activities appeared to have been motivated by the fatal shooting, federal authorities said.

Jabari R. Dean, 21, of Chicago, threatened to kill 16 white male students or staff at the school on Chicago's South Side, according to the criminal complaint. Dean, who is black, was arrested Monday morning. He did not enter a plea later in the day on a charge of transmitting a threat in interstate commerce in court.

The threat was posted Saturday, just days after the city released a video of Van Dyke shooting McDonald 16 times. The video sparked days of protests in Chicago, including one that blocked off part of Michigan Avenue in the downtown shopping district known as the Magnificent Mile on Black Friday.

Also read: US policeman charged with murder had 20 earlier complaints

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has said she had decided a few weeks earlier to charge Van Dyke with murder and was planning to announce charges in a month. But knowing the intense public anger that the sight of the "chilling" video would generate, she announced the charges before the video's release in an effort to encourage calm.

Herbert last week reassured the judge that Van Dyke is not a flight risk, explaining that he has deep ties to the community, lives with his wife and two children in Chicago and does not possess a passport.

In the audio-free video, McDonald can be seen walking down the middle of a four-lane street. He appears to veer away from two officers as they emerge from a vehicle, drawing their guns. One of the officers, Van Dyke, opens fire from close range. McDonald spins around and crumples to the ground. The officer continues to fire.

Police have said that McDonald was carrying a knife and an autopsy revealed that he had PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, in his system. Alvarez said last week that the 7.62-centimeter blade recovered from the scene had been folded into the handle.

Herbert maintains that his client feared for his life, acted lawfully and that the video does not tell the whole story. He told reporters Monday that while the video alone makes it seem like the shooting wasn't justified, he has information that others don't have, and that Van Dyke "absolutely" can defend his actions in court.

- AP


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