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Protests erupt after Chicago cop acquitted in death of black woman

22 April 2015 10:00


Protests erupt after Chicago cop acquitted in death of black woman

The acquittal of a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African-American woman in Chicago has drawn outrage from the victim’s family and fueled angry protests.

Judge Dennis Porter ruled on Monday that prosecutors failed to prove that 46-year-old officer Dante Servin acted recklessly in the March 2012 shooting death of 22-year-old Rekia Boyd.

A chaotic scene erupted in the courtroom after the ruling. The victim’s brother, Martinez Sutton, reacted angrily by standing and shouting at the officer amid cries in the courtroom over the acquittal.

Later, as Servin left the court building with about a dozen off-duty Chicago police officers surrounding him, a crowd of about 40 exploded in anger, hurling objects and yelling “(expletive) murderer” and “shame on you.”

“He gets to walk out, he gets to go to his happy life — that’s a slap in the face,” Sutton said outside the court building as tears streamed down his face. “That’s just telling me the police can just kill you, go through this little process, take a two- or three-year vacation and then get back on the force like nothing happened.”

Boyd was walking with friends near Servin’s home in March 2012 when the off-duty officer became upset by their loud noise and asked them to quiet down. Servin said he fired in self-defense when another person in the group was moving towards him with a gun, though police found only a cell phone.

The Chicago police department has long been dogged by a reputation for police brutality.

The city settled a wrongful-death lawsuit with Boyd’s family for $4.5 million in 2013.

The head of the Illinois National Association for the Advancement of Colored People said Servin’s acquittal will only worsen tensions between police and the African-American community.

The acquittal comes amid a national outcry in recent months over the deaths of unarmed African-Americans at the hands of white police officers in Ferguson, Missouri, New York City, Cleveland and other cities.

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