Van Dyke protesters fined $200 each, ordered to stay away

FILE - Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke, left, attends his sentencing hearing at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago, for the 2014 shooting of Laquan McDonald, Jan. 18, 2019. Van Dyke is scheduled to be released from prison on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, after he served less than half of his 81-month sentence. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune via AP, Pool, File) (Antonio Perez)

CHICAGO – Nine people arrested inside the federal courthouse in downtown Chicago demanding federal charges against former Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke were ordered Tuesday to stay away from the building for 60 days and pay $200 fines.

The five women and four men who call themselves the “Laquan Nine” had gone to the courthouse Thursday to deliver a letter to U.S. Attorney John Lausch demanding charges against the disgraced officer who was released from prison last week after serving a little more than three years for killing 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.

The group's attorney, William Hardwicke, argued that his clients' arrests were enough punishment. Hardwicke said the protest was nonviolent and “in the best tradition of civil disobedience.”

However, U.S. District Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer said it was clear the protesters wanted to be arrested. The protesters were also asked repeatedly to leave the building but refused, she said.

“It would have been a simple thing to do that,” Pallmeyer said.

One protester, Catherine Readling, was fined an additional $50 bringing a megaphone with “the intention for disturbance and disrespect for the court,” Pallmeyer said.

The protesters must stay away from the courthouse for the next 60 days unless official business takes them there, the judge said.


For more of the AP’s coverage of the Laquan McDonald case: