The verdict that dismissed the off-duty Chicago PD officer Dante Servin from all charges involving the fatal shooting of unarmed 22-year-old, Rekia Boyd, is not stopping the Boyd family from searching for justice. This case has become an addition to the list of recent incidents in which an unarmed member of the black community has been shot and killed by an officer of the law. Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton, refuses to give up the fight for what he believes is right and he is certainly not the only one who has been left in utter disbelief over the judge’s decision.
On March 21, 2012, Servin, a 24-year veteran serving for the Chicago PD, was off-duty when he opened fire on a group of four young adults near Douglas Park. Servin, allegedly seeing one of the individuals with Boyd, pulled out a firearm from the waist belt of his pants and pointed it in his direction, leading to the officer firing five shots from inside his vehicle with a semi-automatic Glock. Boyd, having her back turned during the shooting, was killed from a single gunshot wound to the back of her head.
Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but since the judge stated that the legal definition of the word manslaughter requires action of reckless behavior, this incident did not apply. Servin, who deliberately pointed his firearm with the intent to use it, was not acting in any way reckless, rendering him not guilty of the charge, allowing him to away a walk free man, without even a slap on the wrist. The judge then stated that if the Chicago PD veteran had been charged with murder instead of involuntary manslaughter, then things would have turned out a little differently. Though, the verdict is not stopping Boyd’s family from doing whatever they can to make sure Servin pays for his crime.
Servin’s defensive attorney, Darren W. O’Brien, stated after the trial that the evidence that was presented in court did not support the charges. Another satisfied member of the Chicago PD, superintendent Garry McCarthy, stated that the verdict was exactly what it should have been, considering Servin should have never been charged to begin with, which was a comment for which he gave neither clarification nor explanation. Servin left the courtroom that day proclaiming to all the reporters in the Leighton Criminal Court lobby that justice has finally been served.
The mayor, Rahm Emmanuel, declined to answer whether or not he was in agreement with the Chicago PD superintendent McCarthy regarding the verdict. He also declined to respond to whether or not he supported McCarthy’s comment about how the point of it all is that Servin actually did hit his intended target, referring to the bullet that grazed the hand of the young man Servin claimed to have pointed a gun at him; the fact that the victim ended up being collateral damage in the process is just an unfortunate situation.
Sutton and the rest of Boyd’s family will not be letting Chicago PD officer Servin’s verdict stop them from fighting for justice. They plan on taking the case to a civil or federal court, but are still trying to figure out all the different moves that can be made in this type of situation. Experts say that it is impossible for Servin to have a retrial based on the same facts, because now he has constitutional protection against double jeopardy.
Opinion by Kameron Hadley
Photo By Bob Simpson-Creativecommons Flickr License