Board: Fire Cop Who Killed Rekia Boyd
A board that reviews allegations of misconduct by Chicago police officers recommended Wednesday that an officer who shot and killed an unarmed black woman in 2012 be fired.
The Independent Police Review Authority found that Officer Dante Servin violated the department’s “deadly force policy by discharging a firearm into a crowd, striking Rekia Boyd, an innocent bystander,” Chief Administrator Scott M. Ando said in a statement. The board also said Servin made inconsistent statements to detectives, county prosecutors and the authority.
The recommendation now goes to Superintendent Garry McCarthy, who will review it and decide whether to make the same recommendation to the Chicago Police Board, which makes disciplinary decisions.
“We take the use of force by our officers, and the recommendations of IPRA, extremely seriously and we will carefully review the matter,” Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a statement.
The 22-year-old Boyd was with friends in March 2012 when Servin, who was off duty at the time, asked them to quiet down. He said he then fired shots over his shoulder from inside a car because he believed another person in the group was moving toward him with a gun. Police later said they only found a cellphone. Boyd was struck in the head.
The city settled a wrongful-death lawsuit in 2013 with Boyd’s family for $4.5 million, and Cook County prosecutors charged Servin with involuntary manslaughter.
But during Servin’s trial this April, the judge issued a surprising acquittal, explaining in a seven-page ruling that Servin was improperly charged because manslaughter requires “recklessness” while the Illinois courts have consistently held that the act of pointing a gun and firing is an intentional act, not a reckless one.
“It is intentional and the crime, if any there be, is first-degree murder,” Judge Dennis Porter ruled.
The ruling stunned friends and family of Boyd, who angrily shouted at Servin as he left the courthouse. It also sparked protests, with demonstrators demanding that Servin be fired.
Servin contended that he acted properly, telling reporters after he was acquitted that other officers in his situation would have reacted the same. “I saved my life that night,” he told reporters.