CHICAGO -- A Chicago Police Department detective was cleared Monday of all charges in the fatal 2012 off-duty shooting of Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old unarmed black woman.
Judge Dennis Porter found Dante Servin not guilty of involuntary manslaughter and other lesser charges, concluding prosecutors failed to prove Servin acted recklessly, the Chicago Tribune reports.
Servin's case marked the first time in more than 17 years that a Chicago police officer faced a trial over a shooting. Monday's verdict was considered "unusual" as Servin was found not guilty without even having to mount a defense, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
Martinez Sutton, Boyd's older brother, told The Huffington Post on Monday before the verdict was read that his family was feeling cautiously optimistic about the direction of the trial. However, he also said family members were frustrated that Servin only faced a maximum sentence of five years if found guilty.
"In our eyes, when an officer gets taken down for murder or shooting someone, it’s like, ‘OK, here you go: You get time off with pay and you get to enjoy your family,’" Sutton said. "They don’t think about [our] family they’re destroying in the process. You can destroy more lives than one."
Servin got into a verbal altercation with Boyd's group over noise as they were standing in Douglas Park on the city's West Side in March of 2012. Prosecutors said Servin, who was off-duty at the time, fired several shots from his car as the group had its back to him. One shot hit Cross in the hand while another fatally struck Boyd in the back of the head.
Sutton lamented that the trial focused less on Boyd's death and more on whether Antonio Cross, a man in her group of friends, had pointed a gun at Servin. Prosecutors said what Servin thought was a gun was actually Cross' cell phone; no weapon was ever recovered.
Servin's defense said he only fired after Cross waved his cell phone and pointed it at Servin as if it were a gun, which prompted the detective to fear for his life.
After the verdict was read Monday afternoon, "screaming" members of Boyd's family were dragged from the court room, DNAinfo Chicago reports.
Boyd's family was previously awarded $4.5 million in a wrongful death suit against the city.
"We finally got an officer facing charges," Sutton said before the verdict was handed down, "and the world seems quiet."