Homeless man gets 65 years for Chicago Police Officer John Rivera’s off-duty murder

Jovan Battle did not fire the eight .40-caliber rounds into Rivera’s car during the March 2019 River North shooting that also seriously wounded the officer’s friend. But he had played a key role in the murder by pointing out Rivera’s car to two other men, Judge Michael Clancy said.

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Chicago Police Officer John Rivera was shot and killed while off-duty in March.

Chicago Police Officer John Rivera was shot and killed while off-duty in March 2019.

Sun-Times file photo

A homeless man was sentenced to 65 years in prison Tuesday for the murder of off-duty Chicago Police Officer John Rivera.

Jovan Battle, who was combative at times while representing himself during his 2019 jury trial, was subdued during his sentencing hearing and made no comments after the proceeding ended.

But he did apologize to Rivera’s family while asking Cook County Judge Michael Clancy to impose the minimum sentence since he “would likely never see” his own children again.

“I don’t hate anybody,” Battle, 34, said. “I just want to basically say, your honor, to the family, is I’m sorry. If they can find it in their hearts to forgive, forgive me ... I would appreciate it.”

Battle did not fire the eight .40-caliber rounds into Rivera’s car during the March 2019 River North shooting that also seriously wounded the officer’s friend. But he had played a key role in the murder by pointing out Rivera’s car to two other men, Clancy said.

Jovan Battle (right) and Menelik Jackson (left), both are charged in the fatal shooting of off-duty Chicago Police Officer John Rivera.

Jovan Battle (right) and Menelik Jackson (left).

Chicago police

Battle helped the alleged shooter, Menelik Jackson, because, as Battle told investigators, they were both members of the Gangster Disciples street gang, the judge added.

“I chose to help them, cause they G.D., I’m G.D.,” Clancy said, recounting Battle’s conversation with detectives following the shooting.

Clancy also pointed out that Battle expressed no remorse to detectives for his role in the crime.

“‘I’m sorry dude’s dead,’” Clancy said Battle initially told detectives.

That comment, the judge said, “for a moment, I’d consider remorse for mitigation.

“Unfortunately, it’s followed up immediately with — that statement that ‘I’m sorry dude’s dead,’ it’s followed up immediately with the statement, ‘I don’t give a f---.’”

Jackson and another man, Jaquan Washington, had allegedly brawled with a group of Latino men at the River North McDonalds about an hour before Rivera, his girlfriend and two friends got into Rivera’s car after a night out.

After the fight, Jackson and Washington were on the lookout for their rivals when they ran into Battle on the street, prosecutors said.

Battle was seen on security footage pointing out Rivera’s car with a glass bottle.

Jackson then ran up to Rivera’s car and fired into the driver’s window, prosecutors said.

Jackson and Washington are still awaiting trial.

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