WEST LOOP — A judge's verdict clearing an off-duty Chicago Police detective in the shooting death of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd was "unusual, not rare," according to an expert on Illinois criminal law.
Monday's ruling, by Judge Dennis Porter, cleared Chicago Police Det. Dante Servin on charges of involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct when he shot and killed Boyd near Douglas Park three years ago.
"It sounds like what Judge Porter did was come to the conclusion that ... even if you take all the evidence in favor of the state, they haven't proven what they need to," said Professor Richard Kling of the Illinois Institute of Technology's Chicago-Kent College of Law.
The directed verdict came before defense attorneys would have presented their case. In effect, Porter's directed verdict ruled they didn't have to because prosecutors never made their case in the first place.
Kling said that's "more usual" in bench trials, like this one, than in jury trials, where the judge is usually more willing to let the jury make its own determination. He added that prosecutors might have opted for the wrong charges.
"They charged him with reckless conduct, and what Judge Porter said was this wasn't reckless, it was intentional," Kling added. "And it ended up hurting them."
Some criticism on the charges was directed at Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez, who has been criticized before for being soft on prosecuting police officers.
Servin, a Chicago Police detective, was off duty when he fired on a group of people near Douglas Park on March 21, 2012. He said he saw a person later identified as Antonio Cross pull a gun. Cross was hit in the hand, but Boyd, a 22-year-old bystander, was shot in the back of the head and died.
Prosecutors said Cross had been holding a cellphone.
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