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Justice slower for black woman than for dog


Rekia Boyd

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Updated: June 2, 2012 8:15AM

It has been 40 days since two men in white collared shirts knocked on Martinez Sutton’s door and told him his 22-year-old sister, Rekia Boyd, had been shot.

“Are you Martinez Sutton?”

“Yes. What is the problem?”

“Are you the brother of Rekia Boyd?”


“Your sister has been involved in a crime.”

“What did she do?

“ ‘She has been shot in the head,’ the man said and handed me a piece of paper,” Sutton told me.

“This is the place she is at and this is the number you can call,” the detective said, Sutton recalled.

“Then he said ‘sorry,’ and both detectives turned around and walked away.”

Two days later, Boyd’s family was forced to take the young woman off life support.

“Nobody wanted us to say anything about it. People said it was not wise to talk to the media. But every hour there was a report about a 22-year-old girl that got shot in the head,” Sutton said. “I wanted people to know her name and that she wasn’t just any old girl out there.”

It happened on one of those freakishly warm evenings in March that drove Chicagoans in droves to the lakefront and city parks.

Boyd and her friends were hanging out at Douglas Park near 15th and Albany when off-duty Police Officer Dante Servin, who lives in the area, allegedly drove up in a BMW and told the group to “shut up all that m-----f------ noise,” Sutton said witnesses told him.

Antonio Cross yelled back “f--- you,” at which point Servin allegedly stuck a gun out of the window and opened fire, wounding Cross in the hand and shooting Boyd in the head.

Police officials initially claimed Cross had a gun, but no gun was found, and Cross has been charged with aggravated assault, a misdemeanor.

Forty days later, Sutton still does not know whether Servin will be charged with anything for shooting his sister in the head.

“Right now we are just waiting for an answer,” Sutton told me. “Everybody has told me that it’s under investigation. We are just playing a waiting game.”

The family has filed a civil suit against Servin and the city.

Scott Ando, the first deputy to the chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority, describes an investigation into these kind of allegations as “quite a lengthy process.”

“It really varies greatly and depends on the complexity of the situation and the time it takes the Illinois State Police [to process evidence],” he said.

According to Ando, the agency has already “done a canvas in the neighborhood, interviewed most of the witnesses in the area and asked for evidence that has been collected.”

Still, he would not venture a guess about when Sutton might expect answers.

Revin Fellows, a longtime community activist in Aurora who claims to be related to Boyd, pointed out a strange irony.

Also during that stretch of warm days, Willy, a Pomeranian Papillon mix, was fatally attacked at Montrose Beach Dog Park by a pit pull.

The pit bull owner refused to identify himself and left the scene, but witnesses snapped his photograph. After the photograph was circulated at other pet parks, the officer was identified as a Chicago Police officer. The officer was immediately suspended for not making notification within 24 hours after his dog mauled Willy, and for failing to foot the $5,700 veterinary bill.

“That just says to me that these officials care more about a dog than they do a young black woman who was shot dead in the street,” Fellows told me.

Waiting for the wheels of justice to start rolling is “very, very tough,” Sutton lamented.

“It’s a lot to expect the community to work with police, but they cannot even work with us in our time of need.”

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