I don’t know which is the bigger insult: The fact that a judge let Chicago Police detective Dante Servin escape punishment because of a legal technicality or that prosecutors blundered by failing to charge him with murder for the fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd in 2012.
Instead of murder, Servin was charged with lesser charges that were thrown out when Judge Dennis Porter ruled prosecutors didn’t prove Servin’s behavior was reckless.
“[W]hen the defendant intends to fire a gun, points it in the general direction of his or her intended victim and shoots, such conduct is not merely reckless and does not warrant an involuntary manslaughter instruction,” Porter ruled.
Servin, 46, had been charged with involuntary manslaughter and three counts of reckless discharge of a firearm.
On Monday, the police officer was a free man despite having fatally shot an innocent citizen.
His freedom is a slap in the face to Boyd’s family, supporters and taxpayers.
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Like most victims of police brutality and misconduct, Boyd’s family filed a lawsuit against the city that was settled for $4.5 million in 2013.
In Chicago, it is still more tolerable to pay millions to victims of police abuse than it is to aggressively prosecute abusive police officers.
Frankly, Police Supt. Garry McCarthy’s contention that Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez “should never have indicted” Servin is proof the city doesn’t know it has a problem.
If Alvarez is to be criticized, she should be blamed for bringing weak charges against this police officer.
In fact, since Servin can’t be charged again on the same facts, the U.S. Department of Justice should immediately step in and investigate this shooting for possible civil rights violations.
“We were saying he should have been charged with murder in the beginning,” said Crista Noel, founder of Women’s All Points Bulletin, an advocacy group for female victims of police brutality.
“If they had charged him with first-degree murder, they would have proved that,” she said.
There was no debate over how the 22-year-old woman died.
Servin, who was off duty at the time, confronted the group because he said they were making too much noise.
He ended up in a shouting match, and fired his weapon because he thought one of the men pointed a gun at him.
It was a cellphone.
Even though Chicago Police officers are rarely charged criminally in abuse cases, I believed Servin would be an exception.
First, Servin’s case was a lot like that of Michael Dunn, the Jacksonville, Florida, man who fatally shot 17-year-old Jordan Davis in 2012.
Dunn confronted the group of teens because he was upset by the loud music they were listening to in their SUV.
One jury found Dunn guilty of attempted second-degree murder for opening fire on the three teens, but deadlocked on the murder charge. Another jury convicted Dunn of first-degree murder for fatally shooting Davis. He was sentenced to life without parole.
I was also certain common sense would prevail.
Frankly, there have been too many tragedies involving white police officers and African-Americans for Servin not to know he was picking a fight that could turn deadly.
But Servin had a point to prove, and he proved that point by fatally shooting Rekia Boyd.
Boyd’s family deserves justice.
What they got was an insult.