Faced with the prospect of being fired, Chicago detective opts to quietly step down two days before police board hearing.
Dante Servin, a Chicago police officer whose 2012 fatal shooting of unarmed Rekia Boyd was described as “beyond reckless,” has opted to resign from the Chicago Police Department rather than fight to keep his job.
The City’s police board announced Tuesday afternoon that Servin, who was off duty when he shot 22-year-old Boyd in a crowded area of Douglas Park early in the morning on March 21, 2012, would be stepping down two days before a hearing was being held to determine whether or not he should be fired for his recklessness.
While activists and community leaders are undoubtedly pleased to see this man no longer on the payroll, his voluntary resignation from the force nonetheless means the department per standard procedure will drop all disciplinary charges against him, which in turn preserves his ability to collect pension and other retirement benefits that otherwise would have been lost had he been terminated.
The quiet end to Servin’s tumultuous history on the force is marred by his negligent homicide of an unarmed female civilian which forced the city to pay a $4.5 million legal settlement, as well as making him the first officer to face criminal charges related to an off-duty fatality.
Yet, despite it all, he will still be allowed to keep pension on his $97,044 annual salary.
“Why are we even fighting? He should be in a cell, like every other criminal serving his time,” said Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton, “Even if I’m fighting to get this guy fired, he’s free to go about his life. He’s free to get another job.”
Servin fired multiple shots from his car into a group of Boyd’s friends for allegedly ignoring him in the park on the city’s West Side. Servin had been arguing with them about noise and claimed at the time that Boyd’s friend, Antonio Cross, had pulled out a gun.
It was later proven that Cross was pulling out his cell phone but at that point, the five bullets Servin fired had already hit him in the thumb and struck Boyd in the head.
She died the next day at Mount Sinai Hospital and Cross was somehow charged with aggravated assault against Servin, though those charges were later dropped.
A judge acquitted Servin in 2015 of involuntary manslaughter before the defense even had the opportunity to present any evidence, ruling that Servin had acted “intentionally and not recklessly” and that the crime, “if any there be, is first-degree murder.”
At the time, activists maintained that District Attorney Anita Alvarez had deliberately mischarged Servin so as to ensure his necessary acquittal. Alvarez was defeated in her reelection bid this Spring, in large part due to the tireless efforts of activist groups in the area.
“Everybody knew it wasn’t going to go through,” Sutton said regarding Servin’s police board hearing this week, “It’s like making a movie. You know that movie is being made. You know how the ending will go. You just don’t know the release date.”
The tragic deaths of Rekia Boyd, LaQuan McDonald, and so many other Chicago area victims has created increased tensions between minority communities and Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, who has pledged for police and criminal justice reform. At the moment, Sutton and other activists on the ground are justifiably skeptical.
“How many broken promises has Chicago made?” said Sutton. “If we keep on failing on these broken promises, someone is gonna get hurt.”