CHICAGO — With the city's eyes on the potentially explosive Laquan McDonald police shooting case, Chicago's police chief made a ruling in a separate, hot-button police shooting — saying officer Dante Servin should be fired for killing an unarmed woman in 2012.
Supt. Garry McCarthy's announcement, emailed to reporters just after 10 p.m. Monday, comes after the city's Independent Police Review Authority recommended in September that Officer Servin be fired for his actions.
The police chief said in a statement that a review of the investigation has led him to believe that Servin should be fired.
"After considerable deliberation, I have come to the conclusion that officer Dante Servin showed incredibly poor judgment in his efforts to intervene in a low-level dispute while off duty," McCarthy said in his statement. "His actions tragically resulted in the death of an innocent young woman and an unthinkable loss for a Chicago family and community. In the end, CPD has rules that we all must live by. Officer Servin violates those rules and he's going to be held accountable."
At an unrelated appearance Tuesday at Navy Pier, McCarthy said, "Dante Servin made some incredibly poor decisions. The results are tragic."
Servin, now 46, was off duty when he opened fire at a group of people near Douglas Park on March 21, 2012, striking Antonio Cross in the hand and Rekia Boyd in the back of her head, a wound that killed her. Servin has said he saw Cross pull a gun, but police never recovered a weapon, and Cross testified that he was holding a cellphone.
Boyd's brother Martinez Sutton said Tuesday that he'd believe the firing when he sees it.
"I've been made those promises before," Sutton said. "Before this, I've been told, 'Yes, we're gonna take this officer down for what he did.'
"My family has been played with this whole process. We've been told things and it's been taken away," he added. "Let's see it happen."
McCarthy bristled at the suggestion that the Servin announcement was connected to Tuesday's filing of murder charges against the police officer who shot McDonald in October 2014, as the city is expected to release the video of McDonald's shooting death on Wednesday, which is expected to launch protests.
McCarthy said any attempt to tie the issues together was "nonsense."
"This is the process," he said.
Sutton, however, found the process flawed, saying oftentimes an officer resigns before being fired. "Should I get happy that the person could potentially resign and join another department and do it to somebody else's sister, brother or child?" Sutton said.
Asked if a video would have altered the legal proceedings in the case, Sutton said, "I think things would have turned out different," but he added that Servin "was close to being caught on dashcam" when he fired the shots, and the existing video, he said, bore out that his sister and Cross had been innocent victims, yet it made no difference in court.
Later, Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying the city has to "hold any officer who violates the values and professionalism of our police department accountable."
Servin "does not deserve to wear a police star or to patrol our communities, and today's decision [by McCarthy] is the right one," Emanuel said.
The Chicago Police Department will send the Chicago Police Board a formal request on Wednesday to terminate Servin's employment, the department said in a statement.
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.
A recent meeting of the Police Board was filled with protestors seeking the firing of Servin, who said the department should not only fire him but remove his pension and press formal charges.
Servin was tried on involuntary manslaughter charges, but a judge in April found him not guilty. The judge ruled the specific charges — that Servin acted recklessly — did not fit the circumstances of the case, saying Servin intentionally fired into the crowd.
Asked if there were any vindication in McCarthy's actions Tuesday, Sutton said, "Well, not until we really see it go through," adding, "I just hope this is not a show they're putting on. I hope that they're real diligent about going after the guilty."
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