CHICAGO—(ENEWSPF)—April 22, 2015. The following letter was hand delivered on April 16 to the Assistant State’s Attorneys on the case of Dante Servin, the CPD officer charged with manslaughter in the murder of Rekia Boyd. Servin was acquitted of all charges on Monday (April 20) by Judge Dennis Porter in a summary judgment dismissing the State’s charges.
April 16, 2015Anita Alvarez Cook County State’s Attorney 69 W. Washington Suite 3200 Chicago IL 60602
Dear State’s Attorney Alvarez,
As you no doubt are aware, the entire country, and the international community, as well as the Department of Justice, is extremely concerned with the prosecution of Chicago Police Detective, Dante Servin, for 3 counts of reckless conduct and the involuntary manslaughter of Rekia Boyd on March 21, 2012.
As the first indictment of a Chicago police officer in 16 years for the homicide of any person[i], (although Chicago police are responsible for the deaths of at least 121 people since September 2007), this case is being watched, as well as being videotaped. All behavior, and misbehavior, is being well documented. There is no doubt the outcome will determine how the Chicagoans will rely on the integrity of your office and the entire criminal justice system.
This is why we are writing to you with our deepest concern over the way your office is conducting the prosecution of Servin.
We, Advocates from the city of Chicago, have been observing the trial in the courtroom, and we believe the State’s prosecutors are deliberately trying to engineer a verdict of “not guilty.” Perhaps our sophistication does not rise to the level of a trained attorney but as professionals, we cannot discern the subtle nuances in your strategy and believe your offices are failing the family of Rekia Boyd, the deceased.
Blaming the Victims, Lack of objections, Allowing damaging information into the record
- Assistant State’s Attorneys Ramon Moore and Bill Delaney seemed intent on impeaching their own witness, Antonio Cross. Moore’s tone was disrespectful. His questions sought to impeach Cross’s testimony, even though he was a victim of the crime. This raises the question of who the State thinks is the criminal in this case, the victims or the killer?
- Moore had no objection when Servin’s defense attorneys, cross examined Cross and falsely brought race into the courtroom, mischaracterizing the testimony of Cross as having said that Cross called Servin a “cracker,” when he had actually called him out as a “crack head.” There was no objection.
- The State made no objections when Cross was repeatedly badgered about how much he had drank and smoked the night of the murder, even though the question was asked and answered on numerous occasions.
- Moore allowed into evidence a photograph of Cross wearing a cell phone holder on his belt without any material connection to the time and place of the murder, and after Cross repeatedly testified that he did not have a phone clip on his belt the evening of the shooting. Thus the impression was created that he may have taken the phone from such a clip and that Officer Servin was justified in fearing that he had a gun. This photograph was unconnected to the crime scene, was flashed, several times, for no reason onto the LCD large screen projector in the courtroom, highly prejudicing the court.
- Minor contradictions between Antonio’s testimony and his statements in his Civil case deposition were allowed, without objection by the State, to be exaggerated and highlighted on cross examination by the Defense, even though they were of no probative value. It was clear that neither Moore nor Delaney had made any effort to review Cross’s prior deposition to prepare him for testimony.
- What was your strategy behind asking Antonio to pretend to be Servin acting out the murder: that involved shifting from Antonio pretending to hold his own cell phone to asking him to mimic Servin holding/pointing the gun?
- Illinois law requires that all police and State’s Attorney interrogations of suspects and witnesses in murder cases are electronically recorded. Yet your office made no effort to record the interrogations of the witnesses in this case.
- The State made no objection when the defense brought forward a witness for Servin, victim advocate and Nurse Shurecca Baymon before the prosecution rested its case to sow confusion regarding the testimony of Ikca Beamon, Boyd’s friend, and impeach her integrity after she too was badgered as a witness without objection from the State.
- The State made no objection while cross examining prosecution witness Leo Coleman. They allowed the defense to enter into evidence Coleman’s Facebook page without establishing any relevance whatsoever.
- The State introduced into evidence that Antonio told police, when asked, that he had a small pocket knife, in which the police took from him and asked him to place it on the ground, not securing it properly. And a forensic photo of the knife was introduced but the knife itself was never shown. Instead the prosecutor exhibited a 12 inch long hexagonal tube about 3 inches in diameter, said to contain the knife, creating an impression that it was a large and deadly weapon.
- In the State’s opening statement they stated that the gun that Servin used to kill Rekia was an unregistered 9 mm semi-automatic Glock 26, and it was never shown to the Judge and court, like the pocketknife. Instead a box said to contain the gun was introduced without exhibiting its contents. The fact that the gun was illegally possessed by Servin has so far been mentioned only once, obliquely.
We have yet to see whether any of the confusion tolerated so completely by the State will ever be challenged. For example, will firearms experts be called to make it clear that witnesses commonly do not report the same number of shots in an incident in which gunfire took place. Will experts be called to explain the impossibility of Servin shooting Cross in his hand, and a bullet hole in the pole at body level, and the trajectory change of the bullet that shot Rekia in the head?
Will expert witnesses speak to the issue of witnesses and police officers not knowing how many shots were actually fired and that it is not unusual for different witnesses to hear different numbers of shots based on their state of mind and positions on the scene.
These are just some of the serious questions that we believe call into doubt the seriousness of your office in prosecuting the murderer of Rekia Boyd.
It is our hope that you will respond to this letter and its questions post haste.
Sarah Wild, and Mike Siviwe Elliott, Court observers on behalf of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR)
Crista Noel, WAPB and CAARPR Advocate
CC: Associate Judge Dennis J. Porter, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, and United States Department of Justice, Criminal Court of Cook County
Source: Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression