Over 500 people have contributed more than $45,000 to a GoFundMe page for the daughters of convicted Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke.
One of Van Dyke’s lawyers, Tammy Wendt, began setting up the page last week not long after the guilty verdict, and donations have poured in in the four days since it went live. Many of the donations have come from law enforcement officers who say they were stunned by the verdict.
“They say they know it could have been one of them,” Wendt said on Monday.
Van Dyke earlier this month was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm — one for each time Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald on Oct. 20, 2014.
Wendt said the $100,000 goal for the fundraiser was a number she “pulled out of the air,” and that in the near term the family will need the money to pay daily expenses without Van Dyke’s income for however long he is incarcerated. None of the money will go to his legal expenses, Wendt said.
“They [Vand Dyke and his wife] have two kids, and both of them want to go to college,” Wendt said.
Van Dyke was suspended by CPD after he was charged in November 2015, but soon after got a $14-an-hour job doing janitorial work for the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, the union that represents most of the department’s rank-and-file officers.
Van Dyke’s wife, Tiffany, works as a bar manager, but took nearly a month off work to attend her husband’s trial, Wendt said.
“Tiffany is just overwhelmed with gratitude. She’s just floored,” Wendt said. “They just can’t believe it because it really is not just the money, things people are saying, some really supportive things, and that helps, too.”
Wendt said that she was surprised by the outpouring of support— and cash— in the days since the GoFundMe page opened, but admitted that she has had to block all comments to the page because of a number of negative remarks from visitors.