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Police Union President Defends Van Dyke, Vows Appeal

Since the video of Laquan McDonald’s fatal shooting was released nearly three years ago, Chicago’s police union has steadfastly defended Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke – and slammed subsequent efforts at police reform as demoralizing to officers and likely to make them hesitate on the job.

“Over the last several years, (politicians) have used this case … to really kick around the Chicago Police Department,” said Kevin Graham, president of the Fraternal Order of Police’s Chicago Lodge 7. “The men and women of the Chicago Police Department are some of the finest police officers in this country.”

Speaking outside the courtroom after the verdict was read in the murder trial of Van Dyke, Graham said the jury’s decision was “unfortunate” and reiterated that the judge should have granted the defense’s push for a change of venue.

“There will be an appeal. Mark my words, there will be an appeal,” Graham said.

In a statement, Illinois FOP State Lodge President Chris Southwood had even stronger words about the verdict:

“This is a day I never thought I’d see in America, where 12 ordinary citizens were duped into saving the asses of self-serving politicians at the expense of a dedicated public servant,” Southwood said. “This sham trial and shameful verdict is a message to every law enforcement officer in America that it’s not the perpetrator in front of you that you need to worry about, it’s the political operatives stabbing you in the back. What cop would still want to be proactive fighting crime after this disgusting charade, and are law abiding citizens ready to pay the price?”

Graham joins “Chicago Tonight” for a conversation.

Related stories:

Jason Van Dyke Found Guilty of Second-Degree Murder

City, CPS Prepares for Verdict in Jason Van Dyke Murder Trial

As Jury Deliberates Van Dyke’s Fate, a Closer Look at the Charges