CHICAGO — Activists used a Thursday Police Board meeting to celebrate a review panel's recommendation that Officer Dante Servin be fired for the 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed woman Rekia Boyd, but they also criticized police for the recommendation coming years after Boyd's death.
The Thursday night Police Board meeting, the first since the Independent Police Review Authority recommended Servin be fired, was packed with anti-police-violence activists, including some wearing shirts that said, "Fire Officer Dante Servin." Last month's Police Board meeting ended early after activists took control of the room, with attendees chanting that the Police Board was "illegitimate."
Scott Ando, chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, told the crowd the review had recommended Servin's firing because he violated the Police Department's deadly force policy by firing into a crowd and because he has given inconsistent statements about what happened to investigators, among other things.
Activists then used a public discussion portion of the meeting to express concern that, even if fired, Servin could receive a pension. Some also criticized police and the board for paying Servin in the years since Boyd's death, with one speaker suggesting that money Servin received be put toward a scholarship for women of color.
Martinez Sutton, Boyd's brother, thanked activists who had attended this and other meetings, with tears running down his cheeks. But, he also told the Police Board he is concerned Supt. Garry McCarthy will not support the recommendation to fire Servin. McCarthy has previously said he does not think Servin should have faced criminal charges for Boyd's death.
"That's been one of the hardest things to try to live through, him saying that my sister's death was justified," Sutton said the board.
After the meeting, Sutton told DNAinfo Chicago that he doesn't think the Police Board has taken sides and he expects them to fire Servin, though it could take three to seven months.
"McCarthy can sit on it for three months," Sutton said. "I don't expect him to say Dante shouldn't be fired. I expect him to put up a fight.
"I'll be at every [meeting] until they get rid of [Servin]. Maybe even after," he added, noting that he would support other families who have lost loved ones in police-involved incidents.
After the meeting ended, protesters stood and walked out while holding photos of McCarthy, Police Board members and others with red handprints on them. They chanted, "Fire Servin."
Activists leaving as Police Board ends. pic.twitter.com/WUJKjkuFJH— Kelly Bauer (@BauerJournalism) September 18, 2015
Outside, activists chanted and shared stories before marching to Dyett. Several people have been on a hunger strike, pushing for Chicago Public Schools to negotiate the fate of the school.
Sutton stayed behind for a while, saying he would catch up to them. He told DNAinfo Chicago the recommendation to fire Servin makes him feel like he has been shown a Christmas present but told he cannot open it for seven months.
"She's OK," he said, gesturing toward his and Boyd's mother. "She just wants him gone."
Though the Independent Police Review Authority has recommended Servin be fired, the process to actually fire him could take months and would involve McCarthy, a public hearing and a Police Board vote.
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.
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