CITY HALL — Four African-American protest groups rallied outside Mayor Rahm Emanuel's City Hall office Wednesday afternoon to demand the firing of Police Det. Dante Servin and ask for additional funding for Chicago State University.
"We see that as absolutely connected," said Page May, an organizer with Assata's Daughters.
May was joined Wednesday by a handful of protesters representing Black Youth Project 100, Black Lives Matter: Chicago, and Fearless Leading by the Youth — allies in the successful bid to unseat Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in the March Illinois primary. They are now turning their attention to Emanuel, the Police Department and Gov. Bruce Rauner in a bid to call for Servin's firing for the 2012 killing of Rekia Boyd and for Chicago State funding.
"We aren't free just by having Anita Alvarez out of office," May said. "We are going after Dante Servin," the Chicago Police detective who shot and killed Boyd four years ago, only to be found not guilty of manslaughter exactly a year ago.
"We're fighting with a monster," said Martinez Sutton, Boyd's brother. "A big, ugly monster that's been here for years."
Sutton, a Chicago State alumnus, said protesters would attend the Police Board hearing on Servin's proposed firing, recommended by former Police Supt. Garry McCarthy, on May 19. "We're gonna be there in numbers," he said.
At the same time, protesters said they'd be focusing on keeping Chicago State open beyond this month after state funding has been cut off since last summer in the ongoing budget impasse between Rauner and the General Assembly.
"Repression is defunding institutions like Chicago State University," said Kofi of Black Lives Matter: Chicago.
"Our public servants do not serve," said Charles Preston, a CSU student. "They do not care about black lives" — a theme protesters said connected the two diverse issues.
"We see these struggles as intrinsically connected,” said Joan Fadayiro, organizer with BYP 100, ahead of the protest. "The City of Chicago and the State of Illinois are proving that they do not value black lives. Police officers are enabled to kill black women with impunity while black community assets such as Chicago State University are divested from."
Calling themselves the Collective, the groups said in a statement that they plan to attack Emanuel, the Police Board, the Independent Police Review Authority and the Fraternal Order of Police union as "complicit in denying justice for Rekia Boyd," adding, "They must be held accountable."
Similarly, the statement attacked Rauner, saying he "must be held accountable for pushing austerity cuts that disproportionately affect black people," as the Chicago State student body is primarily made up of African-American students.
First of all, though, they demanded Servin be fired and deprived of his pension.
"It is unconscionable that taxpayer dollars pay for Dante Servin's employment at CPD, while black community resources are being hollowed out,” said Veronica Morris-Moore, organizer with Fearless Leading by the Youth.
Servin was found not guilty on manslaughter charges in the 2012 shooting death of Boyd exactly a year ago. A judge's ruling suggested he should have been charged with murder instead, but he cannot legally be tried again in Boyd's death.
Servin's continued Department employment drew protests in December and figured in Alvarez's defeat in the March primary. Former top cop McCarthy last year recommended to the Police Board that Servin be fired, and the case is still pending before the board.
Chicago State canceled spring break as a cost-cutting measure, after not receiving any state funds since the start of the Springfield budget impasse last summer. Students have already been protesting the funding cutoff, blaming Rauner for a veto of emergency funds.
May rankled Police and education activists when she quoted a famous N.W.A. rap song during a protest at the Thompson Center April 1, saying "F--- the police."
The groups are now organizing through a Remember Rekia website.
Addressing Rauner, Emanuel and the Police Department, May said the time for piecemeal reforms was over. "It's not time to do the right thing. It's not time to do your job," she said. "This is the time to be ashamed of yourself. And we're gonna make sure that you feel that over the next month and a half."
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