COOK COUNTY CRIMINAL COURTHOUSE — When Martinez Sutton sat down to watch Baltimore riot footage — images of fires and mayhem, looting and tears — he said he understood the rage.
"I mean, who wouldn't be outraged at somebody getting off scot-free for murder just because they have a badge?" Sutton said in a phone interview Tuesday. "Does that make them more human than folks without a badge?"
Sutton's sister, 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, was fatally shot by an off-duty Chicago Police officer in March 2010. The officer claimed he opened fire after someone near Boyd pulled a gun, but police never recovered a weapon, and prosecutors said the man had a cell phone.
The officer, Dante Servin, 46, was acquitted of all charges last week.
This week, riots erupted in Baltimore following Freddie Gray's funeral. The 25-year-old man was chased and arrested by police in West Baltimore on April 12. He suffered a spinal injury, which would later kill him, while in police custody. Police said they found no evidence of excessive force, and Gray's family accused the department of a cover-up.
"It just seems like every time I turn on the TV, it's just a different police shooting," Sutton said. "It angers us because nothing's being done about it, and they're coming out with the same excuses. Either 'He had a gun' or 'My life was being threatened.' Or 'He must've hurt himself. We don't know how he got hurt.'"
Sutton has found himself in the national spotlight following Servin's acquittal — a position he finds uncomfortable but necessary.
"People want what's right for the life that was lost," he said. "They're calling protestors 'a mob,' 'angry groups,' things like that. When somebody wins a hockey game, it's okay to riot. But when someone loses their life and people react in a negative way, now you have to call out the National Guard. It's mob action."
Sutton said he will attend a rally Tuesday night in Chicago, where 1,500 protesters are expected to stand in solidarity with Baltimore and call for Servin to be fired from the Chicago Police Department.
Sutton said he hopes federal authorities will pursue his sister's case, and he's still investigating further legal options.
"Nobody goes down for it," Sutton said. "That hurts. That's just a slap in the face. And they drop the case like it's nothing.
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