The Chicago police union has hired as a janitor the white officer charged with fatally shooting a black teenager in 2014 as a way of helping him financially, local media reported on Thursday.
Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder last November, more than a year after he shot Laquan McDonald 16 times. The October 2014 shooting was captured on patrol car dashboard camera videos that were released on the day Van Dyke was charged, prompting weeks of protests.
Dean Angelo, president of the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge 7, told local media that Van Dyke had been hired about three weeks ago. Angelo was quoted as saying Van Dyke, who was suspended from the department, was in a difficult financial situation, and the union would do the same for any Chicago officer.
Father Michael Pfleger, a priest and social activist, told Reuters that he was outraged by the hiring.
“In my mind, this is absolutely unacceptable,” Pfleger said. “This is why the bridge between police and community is so destroyed now. If I hired at my church a guy who was indicted and awaiting trail for killing a police officer, they would be tearing me up.”
Union officials did not immediately reply to a Reuters request for comment. The former officer’s attorney was unavailable on Thursday and previously referred media to the union for comment.
(Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales; Editing by Toni Reinhold)