Shot dead in cold blood by off-duty police officer
from various sources – October 2017
submitted by – Sobia Begum Hussain
Any news updates on this case will be listed at the foot of this item
Rekia Boyd, 22 year-old African American women, was fatally shot on 21 March 2012 in Chicago IIinois by Dante Servin, an off duty Chicago police officer. The officer approached a group of four people who were walking down an alley near the officers’ home.
Dante Servin remonstrated with them for talking loudly he did not at any time identify himself as a police officer. When the group turned to leave Dante fired multiple shots from a 9mm Glock firearm. One bullet hit Rekia’s friend Antonio Cross (a convicted felon) in his hand another hit Rekia in the back of her head. She was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital and died the next day.
In November 2013 Dante Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct. He was released on $75,000 bail. Dante said he meant to shout at the man pointing a gun at him – an object later learned to be a cell phone.
State’s Attorney Anita Averez told reporters, “it’s a sad day when charges are warranted against a police officer, but I feel strongly that in this particular case Ms Rekia Boyd lost her life for no reason. After evaluating all the facts that I saw, I felt that his actions were not appropriate, not justified and were reckless.”
The family of Rekia said not only did they not receive condolences from the Chicago police department, but that Police Superintendent Gary McCarthy called the death “Justified” in a press conference following the shooting. “We’ve made multiple attempts to contact them and even asked news stations to please contact them since they won’t talk to us as it just makes it that much harder to deal with the grief.”
Even though Rekia’s family were set to receive $4.5 million as part of a wrongful death settlement, they say justice was in no way served until or unless Dante is criminally charged in the shooting death.
Antonio Cross told the Tribune media when interviewed; “I want him to go to jail. Whenever I got caught I accept it as a man, this man’s sitting up here, he knows the truth. He knows he took the law in his own hands.”
A lot of comments sparked regarding this case. One person commented; “the financial settlement in the Boyd death came quickly, but the possible criminal prosecution of a police officer is not moving at the same speed. After approving another multi-million dollar settlement involving police conduct, some council members wonder aloud about discipline.”
On 25 April 2015 officer Servin was found not guilty on all charges including involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharged of a firearm and reckless conduct. The decision came as police departments nationwide were coming under increased scrutiny over the use of force in predominantly African American communities.
Judge Dennis Porter said “this is not a place for emotion; this is a place for reasoned decisions. He said that Servin’s actions were “beyond reckless” but that the evidence “did not support the charges that Servin fired his gun intentionally.”
Dante Servin resigned two days before his hearing into whether he should be fired or not. This meant that the Chicago police board were forced withdraw all charges against him without prejudice. His resignation saved him from the risk of being fired and thereby the loss of his pension.
Activists in Chicago and around the US who have used Boyd’s story as a rallying cry in their battle to end police violence and impunity that allows officers to resign before being held accountable for their actions. Activists that had pushed for Servin’s firing from the beginning say that his resignation does not resolve the larger issues at hand, and plan to continue pushing for change in Chicago.
Despite new leadership and pledges of reform by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Police Accountability Task Force, Rekia’s brother, Martinez Sutton, said; “How many broken promises has Chicago made. If we keep on falling on these broken promises, someone is gonna get hurt.”
But he also said that he was heartened that so many people have joined the push for justice. He called it “mind-blowing” that people know the name Rekia Boyd now. “You have all these folks coming together from all over the country, and not just this country, but overseas.”
In overall reflection Martinez said; “It’s powerful. It gives you hope again. It gives you hope in a sense because you know folks actually do care.”
Expungement request denied for ex-cop in Rekia Boyd case
19 November 2019