CHICAGO — A civilian-led panel that reviews police misconduct cases recommended Wednesday that Officer Dante Servin, who shot and killed unarmed woman Rekia Boyd in 2012, be fired. But the actual process for firing a Chicago Police officer can take months.
On Wednesday, the Independent Police Review Authority, which investigates potential police misconduct, recommended Servin be fired. It would take Supt. Garry McCarthy's OK, a hearing and a Police Board vote for that to happen. The Police Board will meet Thursday night, and activists, including Boyd's brother, will be present.
Here are the details on what you can expect at Thursday's meeting and what disciplinary measures, if any, Servin could face:
What: The Police Board will have a public meeting on Thursday. Members of the board told a crowd at their last meeting on Aug. 20 that they hope to provide an update on the Servin case at this Thursday's meeting.
Servin was investigated by the police review authority for his role in Boyd's death. The board has recommended Servin be fired. Servin can face discipline and even be fired if it is determined he operated outside the Police Department's parameters for use of deadly force.
The Police Board would have to sign off on Servin's firing.
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday
Where: Chicago Police Headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave.
Can Servin be fired?: Yes. The police review authority has recommended that move — only the second time it's recommended an officer be fired since it was created in 2007 — but firing Servin would have to be agreed upon by the majority of the Police Board after a hearing for the officer.
Servin could also receive a lesser form of discipline that would allow him to keep his job. Or he could go unpunished.
Who is the Independent Police Review Authority?: The authority is headed by chief administrator Scott Ando and staffed with civilian investigators. It is separate from the city and Chicago Police Department, and it investigates allegations of excessive force, police-involved shootings, deaths of people in police custody, domestic violence and verbal abuse, including bias and coercion, according to its website.
Who is the Police Board?: The Police Board is led by nine civilians who oversee "certain activities" of the Police Department, including deciding on discipline for officers accused of misconduct. A hearing before the full police board is required to dismiss an officer or to suspend an officer longer than 30 days.
What happens next?: The authority recommended Servin be fired on Wednesday. McCarthy, who has previously said Servin shouldn't have faced criminal charges, has up to 90 days to respond to the group's recommendation.
If McCarthy agrees with the authority's recommendation to fire Servin, the matter will go directly before the full Police Board for a hearing.
If McCarthy recommends a lesser punishment (or no punishment at all) for Servin, he and the authority would have up to 10 days to try to come to an agreement. Then the matter would go before the Police Board for a hearing only if they agree that Servin be fired or suspended for more than 30 days. If they agree on a suspension of less than 30 days (or none at all), the discipline would be administered without a hearing.
If McCarthy and the authority still don't agree, Ando would have up to five days to send McCarthy's response and authority's objections to that response to a three-person panel of Police Board members.
The three-person panel would have up to 10 business days to review the material and decide if McCarthy's response meets the requirements for overcoming the authority's recommendation for discipline. If they decide in favor of the authority, then Servin would go before the full Police Board (minus the three members of the panel) for a hearing.
If the three-person panel rules in favor of McCarthy, and McCarthy recommended a suspension of less than 30 days, then the issue ends here. If McCarthy recommended a suspension more than 30 days, Servin will still go before the full Police Board.
What happens at the Police Board hearing?: The Police Board will assign a hearing officer to the case. Servin would be represented by his attorney(s). There would be a disciplinary hearing, which would be open to the public, and the board would have a final vote on the matter at a public meeting.
The board's written decision would be posted online.
History of the case:
• March 21, 2012: Rekia Boyd was fatally shot in the head near Douglas Park by Servin, who was off duty. Boyd was unarmed. A man named Antonio Cross, who was standing near Boyd, was shot in the hand.
Servin said he fired after he saw Cross take a gun from his waistband and point it at Servin. No gun was recovered, and attorneys who prosecuted Servin during a subsequent trial said Cross had a cellphone.
• March 11, 2013: The city agreed to a $4.5 million settlement with Boyd's family.
• Nov. 25, 2013: Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter and other felonies for Boyd's death. He continued to work for the Police Department on desk duty.
• Dec. 3, 2014: The trial for Servin was delayed.
• April 9, 2015: Servin's trial started. Boyd's brother, Martinez Sutton, and a friend who was with her at the time of her death, Ikca Beamon, testified. Beamon said it was "possible" Cross had pointed his phone at Servin, but she could not remember.
• April 13: Cross testified that he was holding a cellphone when Servin shot at him and Boyd. He said he thought Servin was trying to buy drugs and he told Servin to "get his crackhead a-- out of here." He said Servin didn't say anything before he shot at them while still in his car.
Defense attorneys contended Cross waved his phone to frighten Servin, leading Servin to fire in self defense. Defense attorney Darren O'Brien said Cross claimed in a July 2013 deposition for a civil suit that he had not waved his phone, but during the trial for Servin, Cross said he waved the hand holding his phone.
Cross' cousin, Leo Coleman, who was on the phone with Cross at the time of the shooting, also testified, saying he heard 8-14 gunshots. A forensic investigator said there were only five shell casings found at the scene, and defense attorneys pointed out inconsistencies in parts of Coleman's testimony.
Shurecca Baymon, a patient care coordinator at Mt. Sinai Hospital, also testified, saying Beamon had told her that Cross pretended his phone was a gun to scare Servin. Baymon said it took her more than a year after the incident to report the conversation because she thought police knew what had happened and she "didn't want to end up here."
• April 16: Officer Ed Heerdt testified that Servin "thought for sure he was going to be shot," leading to the shooting of Boyd and Cross. Heerdt, the lead detective on the case, said Servin thought he saw Cross point a gun at him. Heerdt also said Servin told investigators he had cameras mounted on his home, "but he told me the system was inoperable and I was satisfied with that."
Assistant State's Attorney Maria Burnett also testified that Servin told investigators he believed Cross had a gun and "got rid of it."
Defense attorneys asked Judge Dennis Porter to dismiss the case.
• April 20: Porter found Servin not guilty on all the charges. Porter 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: 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 instead.
"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."
Servin said an accident occurred with Boyd, but he said the state's attorney made a mistake in charging him and his family had suffered since the shooting.
Sutton, Boyd's brother, said he was not surprised by the verdict, and activists marched and planned protests.
• April 21: Sutton spoke at a rally for the #March2Justice campaign at the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.
• April 22: Sutton said his family wanted to pursue further legal options against Servin.
• Aug. 20: Activists took over a Police Board meeting, chanting and calling for the firing of Servin.
At the start of the meeting, the board told a large crowd of anti-police-violence activists that they did not have an update on the police review authority's investigation of Servin but hoped to have one at a Sept. 17 meeting.
Sutton, who became emotional after the Police Board's announcement, showed the board a bag of his sister's bloody hair. The activists used a microphone to criticize the meeting and lead chants.
The meeting was ended after the board was unable to regain control of the room.
• Sept. 16: The police review authority recommended Servin be fired.
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