CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - The officer charged with the murder of Laquan McDonald has a new job, and it’s causing quite a stir.
Jason Van Dyke has been hired by the Fraternal Order of Police and is doing janitorial work because he can’t find another job. The Union says it is helping out a member who is suspended without pay, leaving his family in a dire financial situation.
Some current and former police officers say that sends a bad message to the community at a time when police are trying to rebuild trust that has been shattered by a number of high profile police shootings.
“If we're trying to restore any kind of credibility in the neighborhood and bridge that gap between police and the community it's not a good look,” said Officer Joseph Shaw.
Officer Shaw, a 23 year veteran of the Chicago Police department who's applying for the superintendent's job, says it is just not a good idea for the Fraternal Order of Police to be hiring Jason Van Dyke with the current climate in the city.
But the FOP president confirms about three weeks ago Van Dyke was given a job at FOP headquarters, reportedly doing janitorial work at night.
“We do this for our membership and this is what the FOP stands for, fraternalism. This officer is in a very difficult situation, financially, he has a family and we would do it for anybody that works as a Chicago Police officer,” said FOP President Dean Angelo Sr.
Since he was charged with murder in the death of Laquan McDonald, Van Dyke has been suspended without pay. The union says he is unemployable after losing another part-time job due to publicity and threats shut down his wife's business.
“This is not the first time we've employed someone in our building that could not gain employment due to the nature of the event that they've been involved in,” Angelo Sr. said.
After the high-profile shooting of Latanya Haggarty in 1999, a shooting that cost Officer Serena Daniels her job after she mistook a cell phone for a gun. Daniels worked for a year as a receptionist at the FOP.
“Even though it's not the first time that the FOP has employed a fellow officer who has been suspended for misconduct, it doesn't make it right,” said retired officer Pat Hill.
Hill is the former executive director of the African American Police League.
“If it's not illegal, it's unethical and it's immoral and it slaps in the face of the total image that anything that is police related in this city,” Hill added.
The FOP says people need to remember that Van Dyke is innocent until proven guilty. He says the union has done nothing wrong, and they have nothing to apologize about.
But Officer Shaw contends this sends a message to the community that the union will protect its members at all costs.