COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — A witness to the shooting that killed 22-year-old Rekia Boyd said he asked the off-duty detective who pulled the trigger: "Why the f--- did you shoot?"
Chicago Police officer Dante Servin replied: "I thought your phone was a f------ weapon," according to testimony from Antonio Cross, who took the stand during Servin's trial Monday.
Cross, the first witness to appear this week after the trial began Thursday, was with Boyd the night she was killed on March 21, 2012, near Douglas Park. Cross was shot in his hand while Boyd was fatally struck in her head.
Servin, now 46, faces charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct. He admits he fired the shots but said it was done in self-defense because he thought Cross pointed a gun at him.
As it turns out, Cross was holding a cell phone, he testified. No weapon was ever found at the scene.
Cross' phone took center stage Monday as Servin's bench trial continued. Cross claimed he was on the phone with his cousin when Servin opened fire, and the cousin testified he heard eight to 14 blasts. But defense attorneys and a witness said Cross purposefully waved his phone as if it were a gun to spook Servin, and a forensic investigator testified that only five shell casings were collected at the scene.
Antonio Cross testifies. Photo by John J. Kim.
In his testimony Monday, Cross said he thought Servin was looking for drugs when the off-duty detective drove up to him, Boyd and two friends about 1 a.m. Servin had called 911 earlier in the evening to complain about a large party on the block. He was not in uniform when he approached.
"I told him to get his crackhead a-- out of here," Cross testified before making a fist, sticking out his thumb and pointing over his shoulder to demonstrate how he waved at Servin to go away.
Cross said he was on the phone with his cousin when Servin pulled up, and that he heard one of his companions tell Servin, "F--- you."
Cross testified that Servin didn't saying anything before he reached over his shoulder, while still in his car, and started shooting.
Carl Brasik, a forensic investigator with the Chicago Police Department, said he found five shell casings at the crime scene — two inside Servin's 1996 Mercedes, sitting on the driver's side floor, and three on the ground where the car had stopped.
Carl Brasik testifies. Photo by John J. Kim.
Cross said he took off running when Servin opened fire, and flagged down a police car.
"I told [one of the officers] a white man just shot me," Cross said, adding that he followed the car back to the scene. "I wanted police to catch the person who shot me."
It was then Cross learned Servin was an off-duty Chicago Police detective, he testified.
"I said, 'If you were the police, why the f--- did you shoot me?' He said: 'I thought your phone was a f------ weapon,' " Cross said.
Defense attorney Darren O'Brien attacked Cross' version of events during cross-examination. He claimed that in a July 2013 deposition for a separate civil suit, Cross said he never waved his phone at all. But in court Monday, Cross testified he waved the hand he was using to hold his phone.
"One of those is not true," O'Brien said.
O'Brien also pointed out that Cross was convicted of possessing burglary tools in 2009, and had been drinking tequila and smoking marijuana the night of the shooting.
Dante Servin is charged with manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct. Photo by John J. Kim.
Cross' cousin, Leo Coleman, testified that he was on the phone with Cross when Servin began shooting shortly after 1 a.m. on March 21, 2012. The cousins had been together at Douglas Park, where a group of 50 to 60 people had gathered to play basketball, drink and hang out, Cross said.
After a while, Cross left to buy cigarettes and chips at a nearby corner store, both cousins said. Court records show Coleman called Cross five times between 1:03 a.m. and 1:10 a.m. The cousins connected on the first call, but Cross failed to answer subsequent calls.
Coleman testified that Servin opened fire during that initial call, and that he heard eight to 14 shots.
Servin's attorneys poked at Coleman's testimony, claiming he originally told investigators that Cross was on his way back from buying cigarettes when the shooting began. On Monday, however, Coleman said Cross never made it to the store.
Defense attorney Jennifer Blagg asked Coleman to read aloud from a Facebook post he wrote on Nov. 26, 2013, after Servin was indicted on criminal charges: "donte servin got served! B---- I hope u die in jail. Police are not ur friends ppl.! ... we did it cuz!"
The final witness Monday was Shurecca Baymon, a patient care coordinator with Mt. Sinai Hospital.
Baymon testified that she spoke with Boyd's close friend Ikca Beamon the night of the shooting, as Boyd was on life support. Baymon claims Beamon told her that Cross pretended his phone was a gun and whipped it out "just to spook [Servin]."
Beamon said she blamed Cross and his friend for arguing with Servin, and didn't think it was fair that Boyd had been shot in her head, while Cross was only hit in his hand, according to Baymon.
Baymon didn't report her conversation with Beamon to authorities until after Servin was charged in November 2013. She testified that she assumed police were aware of the situation, and said it wasn't until Servin was criminally charged that she realized that wasn't the case.
When asked why she waited more than a year to talk to prosecutors, Baymon said "I honestly didn't want to end up here."
The trial will continue on Thursday at 1:30 p.m.
The city has previously paid a $4.5 million settlement to Boyd's estate.
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