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Chicago Officer Who Killed Rekia Boyd Should Be Fired, Agency Says

By Kelly Bauer | September 16, 2015 3:30pm | Updated on September 16, 2015 4:35pm
 A criminal case against Dante Servin, 46, was dismissed April 20. But, a police review board now says Servin should be fired.
A criminal case against Dante Servin, 46, was dismissed April 20. But, a police review board now says Servin should be fired.
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John J. Kim

CHICAGO — The Independent Policy Review Authority has recommended that Officer Dante Servin, who shot and killed the unarmed Rekia Boyd in 2012, should be fired.

"Today, the Independent Police Review Authority, Chicago's external, civilian-led body that investigates all police-involved shootings, formally recommended that CPD separate Officer Dante Servin," the Chicago Police Department said in a statement. "We take the use of force by our officers, and the recommendations of IPRA, extremely seriously and we will carefully review the matter."

Now, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy gets to weigh in. He can agree with the recommendation and forward it to the Chicago Police Board, which has the ultimate say. Or, if he disagrees and can't resolve his objections with IPRA, both his and the authority's recommendations would go to the Police Board. McCarthy has previously said Servin should not have been criminally charged for shooting Boyd, according to the Tribune.

A majority of the Police Board would have to agree with the finding and then decide to either fire Servin or issue a lesser form of discipline that would allow him to keep his job. Or he could go unpunished. The Independent Police Review Authority has only recommended one other officer be fired since it was created in 2007.

RELATED: The Rekia Boyd Verdict Explained: Expert Says Judge's Decision 'Unusual'

Martinez Sutton, Boyd's brother, said he had been "warned" about the review's recommendation. He doesn't "have too much confidence" McCarthy will support the review's recommendation to fire Servin, which could prolong the disciplinary process.

"We're halfway there, just waiting," he said. "But, this is a big step in the right direction. I'm glad [the review] came up with the right decision.

"... [McCarthy] said it's a justified shooting. I mean, he basically said he felt that it's right that my sister is dead. I don't think [firing Servin is] gonna be easy at all."

Sutton also fears Servin will receive benefits and his pension if fired.

"At the end of the day, my sister's still gone. She's still dead," Sutton said. "He didn't pay for his crime yet. I mean, losing his job is something, but paying for his crime like the rest of society would be even greater."

The Police Board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at police headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave. At its last meeting — when the board lost control of the room after telling Sutton and other anti-police-violence activists that they did not have news on the Servin case — the board said it expected to provide an update on Servin at this Thursday's meeting. Sutton said he will attend.

The board will not make a final decision on Servin's employment at the meeting, though, as Servin is entitled to a public hearing before the board if it attempts to fire him. It could take months before a resolution over Servin's employment is reached.

Servin was off duty when he opened fire at a group of people near Douglas Park on March 21, 2012, striking Antonio Cross in his hand and Boyd in the back of her head. Servin has said he saw Cross pull a gun, but police never recovered a weapon, and Cross testified that he was holding a cellphone.

Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct. But in April, Servin was found not guilty on all the charges by Judge Dennis Porter in a directed verdict. Porter, the judge in the trial, said he did not doubt Servin shot Boyd, but he did not think prosecutors adequately proved Servin acted recklessly.

"It is easy to say, 'Of course [Servin] was reckless. He intentionally shot in the direction of a group of people on the sidewalk,'" Porter said. " ... It is easy to think that way, but it is wrong. It ignores the law on this subject."

Porter pointed to a history of Illinois court rulings that say: When someone intends to fire a gun, points toward his victim and shoots — much like Servin did — that behavior is not reckless.

Others criticized prosecutors for not charging Servin with first-degree murder.

"They charged him with reckless conduct, and what Judge Porter said was this wasn't reckless, it was intentional," IIT Law Professor Richard Kling said. "And it ended up hurting them."

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