Judge Leroy Martin Jr. denies request from Dante Servin
Crusader Staff Report
Dante Servin, the Chicago police officer who killed Rekia Boyd in 2012 won’t have his record expunged, a Cook County judge ruled Tuesday, November 19.
Servin in 2015 was acquitted of second degree murder for fatally shooting Boyd as she stood with a group of friends in an alley near Servin’s home in Douglas Park on March 21, 2012.
Servin drove to the park in response to a noise complaint. He approached four individuals who he said had been partying at the park. After an exchange of words, Servin fired into the group. Boyd died after a bullet struck her in the head. Servin said he opened fire when a man who had been standing with Boyd approached his car with what appeared to be a gun. No weapon was ever found.
During Servin’s brief bench trial, Judge Dennis Porter stunned Boyd’s relatives and supporters after declaring that the officer was not guilty based on a legal technicality. Porter ruled that Servin was incorrectly charged with involuntary manslaugh- ter because he did not act recklessly. He said first degree murder was the appropriate charge.
In his ruling, Porter wrote that intentionally firing a handgun “is an act that is so dangerous it is beyond reckless. It is intentional and the crime, if any there be, is first-degree murder.”
The verdict sparked outrage in the Black community and deepened distrust in Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. The verdict led Black leaders to demand a special prosecutor to handle the case against Officer Jason Van Dyke, who fatally shot 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times in 2014.
The Boyd family received a $4.5 million settlement from the city.
Several months after the verdict, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and then Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy recommended to the Chicago Police Board that Servin be fired.
In 2016, Servin resigned from the Chicago Police Department “under extreme duress,” on the eve of a Chicago Police Board meeting where he was expected to be fired. The move allowed Servin, 51 to keep his pension, which paid him $4,700 a month since September 2018.
During a hearing last week, Servin asked to have his charges from Boyd’s death expunged from his record. He told Judge LeRoy Martin Jr. that he is looking for a job and has kids at home and in college. Servin said “there has to be some kind of closure for my wife, my kids, my family. I want to put this behind me.”
In addition to Servin, fellow officers and neighbors testified to Servin’s good character.
But Judge Martin noted in his ruling that a not guilty verdict did not always mean that a defendant was innocent.
State’s Attorney Kim Foxx’s office reportedly opposed Servin’s request to expunge the public court files, saying the public has a right to access the record even though Servin was acquitted of Rekia Boyd’s killing. Prosecutors also raised the possibility that Servin may seek to work again in law enforcement and employers should be able to access his official court record.
Martin, the son of a former CPD superintendent and a former public defender, delayed his ruling in order to review Servin’s case.