Your NPR news source
Detective’s recommended firing owes to public pressure, his attorney says

Chicago Det. Dante Servin in 2015 hears a Cook County judge acquit him of criminal charges in his 2012 fatal shooting of Rekia Boyd, 22. A judge on Tuesday denied Servin’s request to clear his record of the arrest and charges.

Pool photo by John J. Kim, Chicago Tribune

Judge Denies Detective’s Request For His Record To Be Cleared Of Rekia Boyd Killing

A Cook County judge refuses to expunge ex-Chicago Det. Dante Servin’s arrest and felony charges despite his acquittal after shooting Boyd.

A Cook County judge on Tuesday refused to clear a former Chicago detective’s record of an arrest and felony charges despite his acquittal after fatally shooting Rekia Boyd, an unarmed black woman, in a 2012 off-duty incident.

Criminal Courts Presiding Judge LeRoy K. Martin Jr. denied Dante Servin’s expungement petition after hearing testimony last Thursday that mainly focused on the detective’s long list of police commendations and achievements.

“The fact that one is found ‘not guilty’ does not make one innocent,” Martin said.

Prosecutors opposed the expungement, saying Servin might seek another law enforcement job and the public had a “right to know” about the case.

The shooting took place near the detective’s home on the city’s West Side. Servin, driving his car, confronted a group walking from an outdoor party. Then, the detective said, a man in the group seemed to point a gun at him.

Servin shot several rounds over his shoulder. One hit the hand of the man, Antonio Cross. Another hit the head of Boyd, a 22-year-old bystander, who died from the injury.

Prosecutors said Cross had no gun, just a cell phone. They charged the detective with felonies including involuntary manslaughter.

During the 2015 trial, Cook County Judge Dennis Porter abruptly acquitted Servin of all charges. Porter announced the verdict even before the defense presented most of its witnesses.

The judge said prosecutors had failed to prove the detective acted recklessly and that a more fitting charge would have been murder.

On Tuesday, Martin pointed to that ruling.

“The strength of the evidence and Judge Porter’s findings here are very compelling,” Martin said, adding that Servin’s attorney last week did not present any defense of Servin’s conduct in the 2012 incident.

“We never got into Mr. Servin’s defense or how viable it would have been but reading Judge Porter’s order, candidly, it seemed to me that Mr. Servin has benefited from the state’s ... failure to file a murder indictment against Mr. Servin.”

Servin’s attorney, Matt Fakhoury, said after the hearing that the former detective had no obligation to present a defense on the trial’s charges to win expungement.

Martin also denied a Servin request for his criminal record to be “sealed” from the public except for government inquiries.

Servin resigned from CPD in 2016 just days before the city’s Police Board was scheduled to begin a five-day hearing to determine whether he should be fired for the shooting.

The city settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with Boyd’s family for $4.5 million in 2013.

Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio about policing. Follow him at @ChipMitchell1.

The Latest
A report says US police departments face a three-fold crisis: an erosion of community trust, a violent-crime surge, and dwindling police staffing. Host: Mary Dixon; Reporter: Chip Mitchell
David Brown was appointed superintendent of the Chicago Police Department less than three years ago.
The governor says he is visiting “liberal cities” who he says are too soft on crime.
The Bureau of Prisons is shutting down a unit at its newest penitentiary in Illinois, following an investigation by NPR and The Marshall Project that exposed it was rife with violence and abuse.