BRONZEVILLE — Demonstrators, community members and others packed Chicago Police headquarters on Wednesday night to call for the firing of the officers involved in the fatal shootings of Laquan McDonald and Rekia Boyd, but the Police Board did not take up either case during its monthly meeting.
Amid chants of “16 shots and a cover-up,” “Step down" and “Bang! Bang! The police are a gang!” the protests packed the hearing room at police headquarters, 3510 S. Michigan Ave.
Jason Van Dyke, the police officer who fired 16 shots, killing 17-year-old Laquan, is facing murder charges. Officer Dante Servin, who killed 22-year-old Boyd when he fired into a crowd, was found not guilty in April of manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct.
One of the voices in the crowd at police headquarters Wednesday belonged to Dorothy Holmes, mother of Ronnie Johnson, who was shot by a police officer last year.
“It ain’t over with yet,” Holmes told the Police Board. “They can keep covering it up and keep covering it up. I’m going to keep on fighting, and I’m going to keep on fighting. If it’s up to me, [Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez] needs a [prison] suit on. And when she puts it on, she can take Rahm Emanuel with her. That apology he did today, he could have saved that for the birds.”
Holmes said her supporters have been galvanized by the release of the footage of her son’s death on Monday, the day Alvarez announced the officer who shot Johnson, 25, would not face criminal charges.
“It shows that I have a lot of support, and they can’t get away with covering up my son’s murder,” Holmes said. “I’m going to keep on fighting.”
Many in the crowd attended the meeting hoping to hear that the board would fire Chicago Police detective Dante Servin, who shot an unarmed 22-year-old Boyd in 2012 behind his Douglas Park home.
Last month, then-Police Supt. Garry McCarthy recommended that the board fire Servin for the shooting. In April, Servin was found not guilty of involuntary manslaughter charges stemming from the shooting.
“It’s been three years since they killed Rekia Boyd," radio show host and Black Youth Project 100 member Damon Williams said. "When it takes protesting to elevate this issue, that tells you there’s something wrong with the system. We’re going to be fighting for Rekia [Boyd] until Dante Servin is fired without a pension.”
"I want to assure the public that the process by which the Police Board reaches its ultimate decision with respect to the charges against Dante Servin, like in any case, will be transparent and will be public," board president Lori Lightfoot said.
Martinez Sutton, Boyd's brother, attended the meeting and said that the length of the process to get justice gets frustrating at times.
“I have good days and bad days. Sometimes those memories of my sister flash in my head,” Sutton said. “I’m still in the grieving stage because the process is not closed. It’s not fully over yet.”
Sutton said the people who have taken up his cause keeps him going.
“Every time I come out here, it’s my fuel because I do other things. I work, I’m in school, I have a family to take care of,” Sutton said. “Many of the people who show up to the protests I don’t even know. The love they show me and my family is incredible. The world needs to see more of that.”
Interim Police Supt. John Escalante and Independent Police Review Authority acting chief administrator Sharon Fairley also attended the meeting.
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