A legal point, a very fine one, has helped free a Chicago detective in the shooting death of Rekia Boyd.
Cook Country Judge Dennis Porter ruled that prosecutors did not prove that officer Dante Servin had acted recklessly. Porter said that Illinois courts have always held the belief anytime an individual points a gun intentionally at a victim and shoots, it is not a reckless act; it is an intentional act.
Porter blamed the prosecutors for not charging Servin with murder instead of involuntary manslaughter. Servin was cleared of involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct.
Servin was off-duty during the March 2012 night when he shot and killed Boyd with an unregistered firearm. According to reports, he fired his weapon, a 9 mm semi-automatic pistol, from his car, over his shoulder, into the alley where Boyd and her friends, all unarmed, were walking. They all had their backs turned to him. The bullet hit Boyd in the head.
Servin, who was responding to a noise complaint, said that Boyd’s boyfriend, Antonio Cross, raised a cellphone that he thought was a gun. He said he felt threatened once he told Boyd and her friends to quiet themselves down. At the time, according to reports, Boyd and her friends were discussing how they were going to get home.
Cook County State Attorney Anita Alvarez expressed her displeasure with the verdict in a written statement Monday.
“I am extremely disappointed by the judge’s ruling,” said Alvarez. “The state 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.”
Servin has remained on the police force since the shooting, relegated to desk duty. His attorney, Darren O’Brien, said that Servin can’t be retired on a murder charge because of double-jeopardy protections. The officer justified his actions by saying that they kept him alive that night. He also had a message for the Boyd family.
“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,” said Servin after the verdict, according to ABC 7 in Chicago.
“I am Rekia Boyd’s mom,” said Angela Helton after the verdict. “They just found this man not guilty on all counts, and he blew my daughter’s brains out in the alley. He gets to walk out. He gets to go to his happy life. That’s a slap in the face.”