CHICAGO — Both of Jason Van Dyke’s daughters were threatened Thursday, prompting the officer to leave the courthouse. The judge in his case then threatened to revoke bail.
Tensions remained high in the city as threats of violence have hung like a cloud over the high-profile trial. On Friday, a jury found Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer charged in the 2014 fatal shooting on Laquan McDonald, guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery. They found him not guilty of official misconduct.
He faces four to 20 years in prison for second-degree murder; probation without prison time is also an option. Each count of aggravated battery carries a sentence of six to 30 years. Prosecutors on Friday said it has yet to be determined whether the sentences will be served concurrently or consecutively.
On Thursday, Van Dyke’s family was threatened — prompting him to suddenly leave the Leighton Criminal Court Building, 2650 S. California Ave. Cook County Judge Vincent Gaughan scolded the officer for failing to notify anyone and then arriving late to an early evening callback for a jury question.
“If I don’t get any information tomorrow about a credible threat, alright, then this is an unexcused absence and nobody was notified, and I’m thinking of revoking bail,” Gaughan said.
Chicago police reports showed both of his daughters – ages 12 and 16 – were threatened. They attend different schools. The 12-year-old was warned via Snapchat that “there might be a shooting and people might come after you and kill you.”
At the 16-year-old’s high school, a photo of her was circulated.
“The school thought it was a threat so they pulled the daughter into the police room because not only did they start saying they’re going to attack his daughter, they started passing out pictures so that all of these kids could figure out who was to attack,” lead defense attorney Daniel Herbert said.
The judge ultimately decided to let it go and did not revoke bail on Friday. Police are now investigating the threats.
Police took someone into custody Friday and charges are pending. However, police did not say whether it’s related to what happened to Van Dyke’s children. Police only said they made an arrest following several threats against police officers and public officials.
Van Dyke, 40, was charged with first-degree murder, official misconduct and aggravated battery in the Oct. 20, 2014, slaying of 17-year-old McDonald, who was shot 16 times.
Van Dyke is the first Chicago police officer in decades to be charged with murder for an on-duty incident.