CHICAGO — After news broke that embattled Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin had quit two days before he was set to face a Police Board hearing over the 2012 shooting of Rekia Boyd, activists who fought for his firing focused on a new cause: making sure he doesn't get paid.
The trending hashtag #DontPayDante emerged minutes after news broke that Servin had quit. Activists took to social media and the streets of Chicago to rally support for their cause.
"Dante Servin will still receive a pension that is paid for by us Chicagoans; this is unacceptable," the Black Youth Project said in a statement. "We must now pressure the Chicago City Council to prohibit Servin from receiving a pension (from a city that claims to lack financial resources) for the murder of Rekia Boyd – a daughter, a sister, and a human being."
Servin's resignation comes about a year after he was acquitted of all charges related to the death of Boyd, a 22-year-old woman who was with a group of near Douglas Park when Servin pulled a gun while off-duty and shot into the crowd, striking Boyd in the head.
By resigning, Servin is now eligible to collect his pension and any other outstanding benefits he stood to lose if fired, angering the activists who called for his ouster.
"The best union to be in in this country is the [Fraternal Order of Police] because you can get away with murder and still get paid," community activist and anti-violence organizer Father Michael Pfleger said.
For years, activists have called on the Chicago Police Department to fire Servin, but the process kept dragging on.
"They've been dragging their feet the whole time," Boyd's brother Martinez Sutton said of the city, police department and police board. "The way my family's been dragged through this process is discouraging ... disheartening... it never ends."
In a statement, activists with the Black Youth Project said they're calling on Chicago's City Council to stop Servin's pension.
"Resignation creates space for police like Servin to leave with dignity – something Servin does not deserve since he snatched Rekia’s ability to live in her full dignity," the group said. "This is why police officers that murder, like Dante Servin, should not only be fired, but should have their pensions taken away as a part of accountability for their misconduct."
Though he is skeptical of what he dubbed the "just us" system, Sutton said he's turned his "pain into power" and believes change is possible.
"With enough public pressure [we could cut off his pension]," Sutton said. "With the power of the people, anything is possible."
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