4/28/15 Justice Served?

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Dante Servin is a Chicago police officer.  He was off-duty one evening in 2012 [March 22, 2012].

While sitting in his car, Servin exchanged words with four adults nearby.  As they walked away, Servin fired five shots from an unregistered handgun over his left shoulder and through his open car window.  He struck two of the four.  22-year old Rekia Boyd died from a bullet to the back of her head.

Servin claimed he was in fear of his life even though the four were walking away and no weapon was found.

[Antonio Cross, who was the second person shot by Servin, was immediately charged with assault.  Servin claimed Cross pointed a gun at the off-duty officer.  But Cross was merely talking on his cellphone.  Prosecutors dropped the assault charges on March 13, 2013, one-year after the shooting and on the same day the city of Chicago paid a $4.5 million settlement to Boyd’s family.]

Prosecutors didn’t charge Servin until 20-months later.  After a public outcry.

He was charged with involuntary manslaughter.  An unintentional killing resulting from recklessness or criminal negligence.

To get a first-degree murder conviction, prosecutors had to prove the officer acted intentionally with premeditation.

It’s typical for prosecutors to choose a lesser charge in which a guilty verdict is more likely.

Last week, the judge halted the trial after prosecutors presented their case.  Judge Dennis Porter stated, “[I]ntentionally 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 [emphasis added].”

Porter ruled Servin couldn’t be guilty of involuntary manslaughter.  He then took the unusual step of acquitting the officer.  Under double-jeopardy rules, Servin cannot be retried for killing Boyd.

It’s understandable why some would think the system is rigged.

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