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Off-duty Chicago cop charged in shooting that killed woman

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Updated: December 27, 2013 6:13AM

A Chicago Police detective has been charged with involuntary manslaughter for a 2012 off-duty shooting that left an unarmed 22-year-old woman dead.

Officer Dante Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a firearm and reckless conduct for the March 21, 2012 shooting that killed Rekia Boyd, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.

Servin, 45, turned himself in Monday morning and, later in the day, appeared before Judge Donald Panarese in a long-sleeve black shirt and khaki pants. He was ordered held on $75,000 bond.

Prosecutors allege the off-duty officer was in his car with an unregistered handgun when he encountered a group of people leaving a Douglas Park party. Servin exchanged words with the group about the loud gathering near his West Side home, and opened fire on a man with a black cell phone who the officer claimed pulled a dark handgun from his waistband.

“It’s a sad day when charges are warranted against a police officer, but we feel very strongly that in this particular case Ms. Rekia Boyd lost her life for no reason and that this defendant’s actions were reckless in shooting in that alleyway that was occupied,” Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez told reporters after the hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse.

Alvarez said there is no evidence anybody in the group had a weapon.

However, Fraternal Order of Police spokesman Pat Camden said the “highly decorated” officer was “defending himself against an individual who had a weapon” and those details will be revealed at the trial.

Boyd’s mother, Angela Helton, filed a federal lawsuit against the city that was settled for $4.5 million in March, said Roderick Drew, a spokesman for the city’s law department.

Assistant State’s Attorney William Delaney said Servin called 911 at 11:49 p.m. March 20, 2012 to report a “huge party” in the park that included “drinking, fighting, smoking drugs.”

About an hour later, Servin went to his car carrying an unregistered, fully-loaded Glock 9 mm semi-automatic handgun to “get a burger,” Delaney said.

About the same time, Boyd and three others left the party to buy cigarettes at a nearby store, Delaney said. Servin and the group allegedly approached the mouth of an alley near 15th Street and Albany Avenue at the same time.

Servin allegedly told the group, “Hey, you can be in the park and no one will call the police if you’re quiet. People live here,” Delaney said. Two members of the group responded with profanity, and one man holding a black cell phone waived his hand in the direction of the officer, Delaney said.

Servin looked over his left shoulder and claimed he saw the man with the cell phone reach into his waistband and pull out what appeared to be a handgun, Delaney said.

Servin “hurriedly” removed his gun with his right hand and shot across his body out the window, Delaney said. Boyd was struck in the back of the head and the man with the cell phone was struck in the right hand, Delaney said.

After the shooting, Servin exited his car and called 911, Delaney said.

The man with the cell phone, Antonio Cross, was shot in the hand and filed a federal lawsuit against Servin and the city in March. He claims he was unarmed and posed no threat.

Servin has been with the Chicago Police Department since December 1991 and has been working most recently as an Area Central detective. He has been in an administrative role at Area Central since the shooting and will be stripped of his police powers pending the outcome of the case, a police department spokesman said.

Camden, backed by more than a dozen Area Central detectives who attended the hearing at the 26th and California courthouse, called it a “sad day” when a Chicago Police officer is “charged for doing something he’s trained to do when defending himself.”

If convicted, Servin faces a sentence ranging from probation to three to five years in prison, Alvarez said.

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