When a Killer Cop Retires: The Resignation of Dante Servin

by Martinez Sutton, Aislinn Pulley and Kelly Hayes, Truthout | Op-Ed –

martinez Sutton

Rekia Boyd’s brother Martinez Sutton addresses a crowd of protesters outside Chicago police headquarters on April 28, 2015. (Photo: Kelly Hayes)

On May 19, organizers and community members around the United States engaged in #SayHerName actions in support of women and femmes who have been harmed by state violence. This national day of action should have coincided with the start of the termination proceedings for Dante Servin, the Chicago police officer who murdered 22-year-old Rekia Boyd on March 22, 2012. Instead, Servin resigned on May 17, two days before an evidentiary hearing was scheduled to begin: as the last stage in his firing process.

Dante Servin has literally gotten away with murder.

For four years, Chicago activists and community members, led by Rekia’s family, have marched, protested, held teach-ins and attended Chicago Police Board meetings demanding that Servin be held accountable for taking Rekia’s young life. Every step of the way, Rekia’s family and supporters have been met with bureaucratic red tape preventing justice. From unnecessarily prolonged review periods, to the three years it took for the criminal case to face trial, to the technicality that enabled Servin to walk scot-free even though the presiding judge stated that he should have been charged with first-degree murder, each step illustrated the city government’s culture of complicity and “blue wall of silence.”

Here is the timeline of state violence and government missteps inflicted upon Rekia’s family for the past four years:

  • March 21, 2012 – Rekia was shot by Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer Dante Servin.
  • March 22, 2012 – Rekia was taken off of life support after doctors declared her brain dead.
  • November 28, 2013 – Involuntary manslaughter charges were filed against Servin — 617 days (or one year, eight months and one week) after Rekia Boyd’s murder.
  • April 9, 2015 – The criminal trial against Servin began, 498 days (one year, four months and two weeks) after the charges were filed.
  • April 20, 2015 – Judge Dennis Porter granted the defense a directed verdict acquitting Servin of involuntary manslaughter, stating that he should have been charged with first-degree murder. The state’s decision to undercharge Servin for his crime at the outset meant that he could not be convicted of a higher charge at the discretion of the court. Since double jeopardy attached the moment a jury was impaneled, Servin cannot be retried for the murder of Rekia Boyd.
  • September 16, 2015 – After five months of protests at the monthly Chicago Police Board meeting, the Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) — a city-run entity that has been widely discredited for rubber-stamping police violence — recommended firing Servin. Per the guidelines, the superintendent had 60 days to respond.
  • November 24, 2015 – Seventy days later, the day the video of the murder of Laquan McDonald was released to the public after a court ruling, former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy agreed with IPRA’s recommendation to fire Servin. In the week following the release of the video, McCarthy was fired by Mayor Rahm Emanuel. Per the firing guidelines, the Chicago Police Board had six months to schedule an evidentiary hearing for Servin.
  • May 19, 2016 – Six months later, the first date of the evidentiary hearing was scheduled to begin.

Throughout these four years, every single aspect of government dragged its feet to remain in compliance with the unnecessary bureaucratic rules in place to fire a Chicago cop. Only after mounting public pressure were charges even filed. Most Chicago police killings result in no action; Servin’s criminal trial reflected the first time a Chicago cop had faced such charges in 17 years. Only after sustained public pressure demanding justice for Rekia, coupled with international outrage over the Laquan McDonald execution, did McCarthy recommend Servin’s firing. Every step of the way, the system failed and prevented justice from occurring, revealing how invested the existing Chicago court and police systems are in protecting police at all costs, even when they commit first-degree murder.

Servin was only the second cop IPRA recommended to fire for a shooting since its inception in 2007. Now that Servin has resigned, he can begin collecting his pension when he turns 50 in July 2018. His salary, as of December 31, 2015, was $97,044.

Dante Servin has literally gotten away with murder.

read more…..   http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/36158-when-a-killer-cop-retires-the-resignation-of-dante-servin

 

Reprinted with permission from Truthout