Police detective on trial in shooting death of African-American woman

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Rekia Boyd

All Ikca Beamon and Rekia Boyd were concerned about was figuring out the best route home using public transportation.

They weren’t making a commotion and did not participate in a heated argument that their male companions were having with an off-duty Chicago Police detective who was irritated with the partying in his West Side neighborhood.

“Next thing I know, I heard gunshots,” Beamon testified Thursday at officer Dante Servin’s involuntary manslaughter trial.

Beamon said she bolted behind a tree in the early morning hours of March 21, 2012, and saw Servin with his right arm extended over his left shoulder as he fired his weapon from his dark Mercedes.

“I kept seeing fire,” Beamon said, her voice wavering as she recounted seeing her close friend’s body lying facedown in the alley near 15th Street and Albany Avenue.

Servin “was constantly shooting,” she said. “He was trying to kill all of us.”

Boyd, 22, died after one of the five bullets from Servin’s unregistered handgun pierced the left side of her head.

“She didn’t see it coming,” Assistant Cook County State’s Attorney Ramon Moore said in his opening statements, describing Servin’s conduct as “reckless.”

“She didn’t stand a chance,” Moore said. “She dropped right there.”

Boyd’s death drew the attention of Black Lives Matter activists who have been highlighting fatal police-involved shootings of unarmed African-Americans across the country.


Chicago Police Detective Dante Servin listens during his trial on manslaughter charges on Thursday. | John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune

Like the cops tied to the other deadly incidents, Servin has maintained that he used his Glock only because he felt threatened when he confronted the group about the noise.

Servin, now 46, had only a “split second” to act when Beamon and Boyd’s friend —Antonio Cross — reached into his waistband, pretending he had a weapon and charged toward the officer, defense attorneys said.


Defense attorney Jennifer Blagg mimics the aim of a gun during the opening statement Thursday in the case of Chicago Police detective Dante Servin, who’s charged with manslaughter in the March 2012 shooting death of Rekia Boyd. | John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune

Servin “wasn’t looking for trouble,” lawyer Jennifer Blagg said. “He was trying to stop trouble from happening.”

Minutes before he shot Boyd and wounded Cross in the hand, Servin had called 911 to complain about crowds of people “drinking, fighting and smoking drugs” near his home.

“I’m afraid something bad is going to happen,” the detective is heard saying in the 911 recording played in Judge Dennis Porter’s courtroom Thursday.

Beamon said she, Boyd, Cross and their pal, Mantise Stevenson, had been drinking tequila and smoking marijuana before heading to Douglas Park.

After Beamon and Boyd had another partygoer drive them to a nearby home to use the bathroom, the women came back to the park and saw Cross and Stevenson leaving the gathering to buy cigarettes.

Beamon and Boyd decided to trail behind the men and plotted their way back home using the bus and train because they weren’t sure they would get a ride.

As the group made their way to the alley, an exasperated Servin pulled up and said, “You all need to cool it with the f – – – – – – noise. That’s why the police are always around here,” Beamon testified.

Cross thought Servin, a Hispanic, was trying to buy drugs, and waved him off.

Stevenson yelled “f – – – you” at Servin three times before the shots were fired, Beamon said.

During cross-examination by defense attorney Darren O’Brien, Beamon admitted she told a nurse at the hospital where Boyd died that it was Cross’ “fault.”

If Cross and Stevenson hadn’t mouthed off at the officer, Servin “wouldn’t have gone into defense mode,” she said.

Beamon couldn’t recall if she might have told others that Cross had reached into his pants in an effort to “spook” Servin.

However, she did remember Cross coming up to Servin afterward, exclaiming, “Man, why the f – – – did you shoot me?”

Servin replied, “I thought your phone was a gun,” Beamon said as police officers and activists with yellow armbands looked on in the packed courtroom.


Martinez Sutton, whose sister, Rekia Boyd, was fatally shot by a Chicago Police officer in March 2012, weeps while testifying Thursday at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. | John J. Kim/Chicago Tribune

Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton, 32, also testified Thursday about the last time he saw his sister at their Dolton home talking on the phone.

Boyd’s mother, Angela Helton, who received $4.5 million in a settlement with the city, later told reporters she was irritated with Servin’s constant “smirk” during the bench trial.

“I just want justice for Rekia,” she said. “. . . I could never forgive him. Never.”

Servin also is facing reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct charges.

His trial will resume on Monday afternoon at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

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