Judge finds Chicago cop Dante Servin not guilty; courtroom explodes

Tuesday, April 21, 2015
Judge dismisses charges against Chicago cop Dante Servin
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After just four days, a judge found Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin not guilty on charges he shot and killed Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old unarmed woman.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- After just four days, a judge found Chicago Police Officer Dante Servin not guilty on charges he shot and killed Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old unarmed woman. Servin was off-duty when he opened fire during a confrontation with a group of people three years ago.

Servin, a decorated police officer who remained on the force but was stripped of his powers and assigned to desk duty during the proceedings, was charged with involuntary manslaughter. The judge ruled there was no evidence of reckless conduct in the case, which would have been required for the involuntary manslaughter charge and others, and dismissed the charges.

"Simply put, the evidence presented in this case does not support the charges on which the defendant was indicted and tried. There being no evidence of recklessness as a matter of law, there is no evidence to which the state could sustain its burden of proof as to the fourth element of the charge of involuntary manslaughter," Judge Dennis Porter said. "Therefore, there is a finding of not guilty on all counts and the defendant is discharged."

As soon as the verdict was announced, the courtroom exploded. Boyd's brother, Martinez Sutton, shouted "that man killed my sister" as other family members cried out in disbelief. Guards escorted him out of the courtroom while Servin watched from the corner, blinking back tears.

As Servin walked out of court a free man, an emotional group of Boyd's family, friends and supporters followed after him, shouting "murderer!" Servin, who spoke to cameras after the decision, maintains his innocence.

"I think it was a mistake for the state's attorney to charge me, but I also explained to the family that if this is what they needed for closure - for me to be charged - I hope they got what they were looking for," Servin said.

In March 2012, 22-year-old Rekia Boyd was walking to a store with three friends near Douglas Park. Prosecutors said that Servin, who was off-duty, was upset over the noise and told the group to quiet down. After exchanging words, Servin fired five shots over his shoulder while sitting in his car. Boyd was hit in the head from behind and killed, her boyfriend, Antonio Cross, was hit in the thumb. The group of four had their backs turned to Servin in an alley.

Servin was charged with reckless conduct and reckless discharge of a firearm.

Servin's defense said he feared for his life, and claimed to see Cross pull a gun from his waistband and point it at him, he then fired in self-defense. A gun was never recovered.

After the judge's decision, Boyd's family, friends and supporters cried foul and were extremely upset.

"I am Rekia Boyd's mom. They just found this man not guilty on all counts, and he blew my daughter's brains out in the alley," said Angela Helton.

"I will never be able to call Rekia again. I will never be able to say 'Rekia, can you come over and do this?' I will never be able to do that," Sutton said.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez said Monday in a written statement: "I am extremely disappointed by the Judge's ruling. The State's Attorney's Office brought charges in this case in good faith and only after a very careful legal analysis of the evidence as well as the specific circumstances of this crime."

Outside the courthouse, dozens of Boyd's family members and supporters held an impromptu protest, where they promised to keep fighting for justice in Boyd's death. More protesters hit the streets Monday night.

Chicago police said Monday night that Servin will remain stripped of his police powers until the Independent Police Review Authority finishes their investigation.