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Politics

Rekia Boyd

Meet Rekia Boyd, born November 5, 1989 and a resident of Dolton, Illinois, along with her family.

On March 21, 2012, Rekia’s life was tragically cut short. While out with a group of friends late in the evening, enjoying music, drinks, and each others’ company at Douglas Park. In the small hours of the night, Rekia and a few of her friends made their way to a nearby liquor store, where their paths would intersect with off-duty Chicago Police Department officer Dante Servin.

Servin approached the group in his vehicle — whether calmly or belligerently, we don’t know for sure — and reportedly solicited buying drugs from the group, to which Rekia’s friend Antonia Cross responded, telling Servin to “get his crackhead ass out of here.”

At some point, Servin drew his weapon on Rekia and her friends, and aiming out his window, he opened fire on them. Antonia was shot in the hand. Rekia, the head. She was killed instantly.

Servin would claim later that Antonia was approaching him with a gun, but no such gun was ever recovered from the scene; most likely, Antonia was holding his phone. Servin would also claim that as he approached, the group were arguing.

Servin, in November 2013, was tried for manslaughter, but was acquitted of all charges two years later in a directed verdict — Judge Dennis. J. Porter ordered a decision of not-guilty. Manslaughter implies an accident, but the actions of Servin that night were intentional. The judge reasoned that if there was a crime, it would be murder, not manslaughter. No murder charges were brought against Servin, however.

Servin resigned from the Chicago Police Department on May 17, 2016, two days before a hearing to determine whether he would be fired, as called for by Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Superintendent of Police Garry McCarthy.

The City of Chicago would give Rekia’s family $4.5 million, and her murder and the subsequent complete lack of justice would help inspire Black Lives Matter.

Former Detective Dante Servin would go on in 2017 to briefly serve as a national police community advisor in Honduras. In 2019, he sought to have the record of his manslaughter indictment expunged from his record, or at the very least to have those records sealed so that the public would no longer have access to them, so that he could have “closure” and better job prospects. Both of these requests were denied, however, and as judge Leroy Martin, Jr., noted, “Candidly, it seems to me, that Mr. Servin has benefitted from the state’s…failure to file a murder indictment against Mr. Servin and to go forward on involuntary manslaughter.”

Martinez Sutton, Rekia’s brother who was present for the court consideration of Servin’s record, said, “You go through those experiences, and the person who murdered your sister still gets to walk around and still collect a pension from the city then why would anybody have faith in the court system?”

Former Detective Dante Servin collects monthly pension checks of $4,700, and has done so since 2018.

Rekia Boyd was twenty-two years old.

Rekia Boyd’s life mattered.

Sources

Categories
Journal

When Hate Hits Close to Home

Update: WTHR covered the events described below.

Twenty-one years ago, I met a kid in the neighborhood my mom, my sister, and I had moved into. It was a Friday afternoon, and we hung out on our front porch, looking at and trading collectible comic book cards, a hobby I had recently taken up and which he was leaps and bounds ahead of me in.

We were well underway with our card trades when my dad arrived to pick my sister and me up for the weekend, at which point my friend and I realized we didn’t even know each other’s names!

As we got to know each other, I’d learn that Chris — his name is Chris, by the way — very much enjoyed comic books; if memory serves me, the walls of his room were lined with comics displayed in plastic sleeves. I’d also come to find out that the guy had a passion for pranks. I remember he tried to convince me that he had a twin, and that I could tell them apart by the direction the hair swirled on the crown of their head. Chris also had a few of the younger kids in the neighborhood convinced that behind the shrubs by his house was a portal which led to a realm of dragons, so that was fun.

As we grew up, I moved to a neighborhood a few streets over and made friends with a new group of kids. Of course, I had to bring Chris into that group! He fit right in, and the pranks naturally continued, though usually at my expense, such as when he and our friend Michael tried to convince me that they had become vampires. That was a weird couple of weeks.

Vampires. A monster in the woods near the house. Our own pet cemetery. Believing one of us to be demon-possessed. An exorcism on a household. Fun times! Innocent, naïve times.

I loved my town growing up, and I certainly never understood the hate shown to it by so many of my peers. I still love my community, but it’s far less rosy than it was back in those days of childhood.