A judge on Monday found Chicago police officer Dante Servin not guilty of involuntary manslaughter, saying there was no evidence he acted recklessly when he killed Rekia Boyd, 22, in an off-duty shooting in 2012.
After a four-day bench trial, which is heard before a judge without a jury, Cook County Associate Judge Dennis Porter said in a written finding that Servin’s actions were intentional and so did not fit the charges brought by the state’s attorney.
“The act of intentionally firing a gun at some person or persons on the street 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,” Porter wrote.
Servin was the first Chicago police officer in more than 15 years to be charged in a fatal shooting. His trial comes at a time of national debate over the use of lethal force by police officers, especially against unarmed African-Americans. Boyd was black. Servin is Hispanic.
Prosecutors said Servin was in his car when he shot Boyd with an unregistered semiautomatic handgun after an argument with a group of young people in an alley. The prosecution rested last week and Porter was ruling on a defense motion to dismiss charges.
Boyd’s family erupted in shouts and tears after the ruling.
“They said a lot of charges didn’t fit,” said Boyd’s brother, Martinez Sutton, outside the courthouse, in tears. “I was promised that they were going to take this officer down.”