A verbal dispute on an unseasonably hot March night led to the shooting death of a 22-year-old woman by an off-duty Chicago police officer. In the six weeks since the shooting, the family of Rekia Boyd has found very few answers and very little in the way of justice.
“Nobody wanted us to say anything about it. People said it was not wise to talk to the media,” Boyd’s brother Martinez Sutton told the Chicago Sun-Times on April 30. “But every hour there was a report about a 22-year-old girl that got shot in the head,” Sutton said. “I wanted people to know her name and that she wasn’t just any old girl out there.”
The night of March 20 was a surprisingly warm one. Temperatures that day topped out at nearly 90 degrees, and people were out in full force in the streets, enjoying the summer-like weather.
Boyd was out with a group of friends at Douglas Park on 15th and Albany, on Chicago’s west side, when off-duty Chicago detective Dante Servin drove up to them in a BMW. Sutton told the Sun-Times that Servin — who lives in the North Lawndale neighborhood near the park — told the group to “shut up all that motherf**king noise.”
Boyd’s friend, 39-year-old Antonio Cross, responded with an obscenity toward Servin. At that point, witnesses say that Servin pulled out a gun and opened fire on the group, hitting Cross in the left hand and Boyd — an innocent bystander — in the head.
Chicago Police initially claimed that Cross pulled a gun on Servin, which caused the officer to open fire in “fear for his life.” An independent investigation found that Cross was unarmed, yet he was still charged with misdemeanor aggravated assault.
Rekia Boyd died two days after being removed from life support. Servin has yet to be charged with a crime in the shooting and Boyd’s family has already filed a civil suit against Servin and the city of Chicago.
Boyd and Sutton started a website and petition hoping to find justice for their sister. Servin is still on duty with Chicago police as the investigation continues and the police have not commented on his status or the lawsuit against the department.
The killing comes in the midst of what has already been an extremely violent year in the Windy City. Since Jan. 1, Chicago has already logged over 150 homicides as of May 2, with 40 of them coming in April alone.
Read this entire article and more from Jay Scott Smith on The Grio