A police review agency in Chicago setup to investigate complaints against police has recommended a cop, who killed 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, be fired.
In the history of the agency, it has only recommended two other officers have their job terminated. Both recommendations came this year.
The Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) informed the Chicago Police Department on September 16 of its recommendation to fire Officer Dante Servin. Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy now has 90 days to decide whether to follow IPRA’s recommendation.
Martinez Sutton, Boyd’s brother, told the local ABC News affiliate, “It’s rare. It’s rare you hear of an officer lose their job over killing a civilian.” He added, “I agree with the decision wholeheartedly, but I also miss my baby sister. She was the baby of the family.”
The recommendation comes as family and friends of Boyd and activists, who have fought for justice, plan to be at Chicago Police Headquarters tomorrow to hear what the Chicago Police Board intends to do about Servin’s employment.
“For us, it is really important that when police kill people they cannot continue to have the same power,” Charlene Carruthers, national director of the Black Youth Project 100, declared in an interview for the Chicago Sun-Times.
Carruthers continued, “We are calling for him to be fired without a pension. We don’t believe that taxpayers should be called on to invest in the life of someone who took the life of a young black woman.”
Servin’s trial was in April. He had a bench trial, and the judge decided he was not guilty, claiming prosecutors had charged him incorrectly. He should have been charged with murder instead of involuntary manslaughter.
On March 21, 2012, Servin, who was off-duty at the time, responded to a 911 call complaining about noise in Douglas Park from partying, fighting and smoking. Servin stopped his car in an alley by the park and confronted a twenty-two year-old woman, Rekia Boyd, her friend, Ikca Beamon, and two young men, Antonio Cross and Marteece. When the two young men talked back to Servin, that infuriated Servin. He slowly drove his car out of the alley, pulled out his Glock 26 9mm, reached across his body and fired his weapon at Boyd and her friends.
Servin hit Cross in his hand. One of the other bullets fired struck Boyd in the left side of her head. The bullet ricocheted inside her head, “left to right, back to front and then slightly upward,” according to her autopsy. She collapsed to the ground and died from the gunshot wound.
The case was a rare example of prosecutors in Cook County actually charging a Chicago police officer for crimes committed during a fatal shooting.
The local ABC News affiliate reported that IPRA concluded Servin violated the “deadly force” policy, “failed to qualify with the weapon he fired that night and that he made inconsistent statements to detectives, the State’s Attorney’s Office, and IPRA.”
It took over three years for Boyd’s family, friends, and supporters to get a trial for Servin. Even more time passed before IPRA finally issued a recommendation to terminate the officer who murdered Boyd.
There is no guarantee the Chicago Police Board follows IPRA’s recommendation. McCarthy now has an opportunity to provide his input, and previously McCarthy opposed the criminal prosecution of Servin for shooting Boyd.
IPRA was formed in 2007. In late April, for the first time, it recommended Officer Francisco Perez be terminated for witnessing a drive-by shooting and “shooting 16 times at the wrong car.” Perez wounded the driver “provided false information regarding his actions,” according to the Chicago Reader.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, IPRA also recommended a “rookie” officer be fired for pulling his gun on a person during a road rage incident when he was off-duty.
McCarthy ended up agreeing Perez should be fired. However, it appears the Chicago Police Review Board has yet to make a final decision on Perez’s employment.
Earlier this year, IPRA fired an investigator for refusing to change findings, which suggested multiple police shootings were “unjustified.”
“They have shot people dead when they did not have to shoot. They were not in reasonable fear for their lives. The evidence shows that the officer knew, or should have known, that the person who they shot was not armed or did not pose a threat to them or could have been apprehended by means short of deadly force,” the fired IPRA investigator Lorenzo Davis told WBEZ.
Since 2010, according to journalist Sarah Macaraeg, IPRA has “conducted 272 investigations of officer-involved shootings over the last five years.” One case has been deemed unjustified.
More than 500 Chicago police officers deployed have over 10 misconduct complaints from 2001 to 2006, and still serve in the police department. This number includes “four lieutenants, the director and an organizer of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), 55 detectives, a field training officer and 69 sergeants.”
There are six Chicago police officers who killed people and also have a “large volume of unpenalized complaints of misconduct.”
And, “at least 21 Chicago police officers are currently serving on the force, some with honors, after shooting citizens under highly questionable circumstances, resulting in at least $30.2 million in taxpayer-funded City of Chicago settlements thus far.”
It is exceedingly rare for IPRA to recommend termination for officers who commit crimes, but protest actions, especially those led by Boyd’s brother, have kept the pressure on the Chicago Police Department to take away Servin’s badge and gun once and for all.
Below is video of Sutton and others at a Chicago Police Board hearing in August. They demanded the Board fire Servin: