The Campaign to Fire CPD Detective Dante Servin

The editors of Cook County Justice Watch feel it is important to present information on community organizing efforts in Cook County. This post highlights the work being done in the Movement for Black Lives with the #SayHerName initiative in Chicago. Movements like these often create necessary pressure to move policy and change the way that justice is delivered.

On March 21, 2012, Rekia Boyd was fatally shot by off-duty Chicago police detective Dante Servin. She was 22 years old. The shooting took place in the early morning hours in Douglas Park, a neighborhood on Chicago’s west side, when Servin fired multiple shots from an unregistered 9mm semiautomatic firearm over his shoulder into a crowd of people. When questioned, Servin claimed that he mistook a cellphone in a man’s hand for a gun. Witnesses say he appeared to be drunk at the time of the shooting.

In November 2013, Servin was charged with involuntary manslaughter, a charge determined by Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. All charges were dismissed by Judge Dennis J. Porter, who ruled that because the shooting was intentional, Servin could not be charged with recklessness. “It is intentional and the crime, if any there be, is first-degree murder,” said Porter in his ruling. This directed verdict essentially meant that Servin was found not guilty, and returned to his job with the Chicago Police Department where he remains employed.

Upon delivery of the verdict, individuals from multiple organizations came together to support Boyd’s family and organize to have Dante Servin fired without a pension. They also shared a goal of keeping Rekia’s name alive. The #SayHerName initiative is deeply rooted in the campaign for justice for Rekia.

Since May of 2015, social justice advocates have attended monthly meetings of the Chicago Police Board, delivering testimony urging Superintendent Garry McCarthy and the CPD board to fire Dante Servin and end police brutality in Chicago. Cook County Justice Watch contributor Ruby Pinto spoke to two young organizers with BYP 100, an organization that has taken the lead on organizing turnout for monthly board meetings. She also spoke to Rekia’s brother, Martinez Sutton, who regularly attends CPD board meeting as well as actions against police brutality throughout the city.

In September, Chicago’s Independent Police Review Board recommended that Servin be removed from the Chicago police force, due to violation of CPD’s deadly force policy, failure to qualify with the weapon he fired that night and delivery of inconsistent statements to detectives, the State’s Attorney’s Office and IPRA.

Superintendent McCarthy must deliver a his decision within 90 days  of the IPRA recommendation and has stated that he will deliver a decision before the deadline. The next CPD board meeting will take place this coming Thursday, November 19th at 7:30 pm. CPD headquarters are located at 3510 S Michigan Avenue. A crowd of community members is expected to gather at 7 pm to fill the boardroom and deliver testimony.

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Martinez Sutton at a Vigil for Rekia at Depaul (5/12/15) – photo by Sarah Jane Rhee

 

 

 

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Upcoming Interview Series: Chicago Votes

Our partners at Soapbox Productions and Organizing have teamed up with Chicago Votes staff to tell the story of what it’s like to grow up in an over-policed neighborhood in Chicago. These young organizers shared their perspectives on police accountability, our public school system, community safety, Black Lives Matter, and why they’ve chosen to work toward getting young people registered to vote and involved in politics. They also shared some spoken word pieces, providing a look at how young people express themselves through art.

During National Voter Registration Day, Chicago Votes registered over 1000 people on college campuses across the city. It will be interesting to see what impact the youth vote will have on crucial races to the administration of justice. Both Cook County States Attorney and Illinois State Senate elections will take place on March 15th, 2016.  In 2012, 35.2% of registered voters ages 18-24 voted in the general election.

The complete footage is set to debut in the coming weeks, but for now please enjoy this sneak peek. Stay tuned for updates on this exciting partnership.

Changes Coming to CPD Stop and Frisk Policy

The standard Chicago Police Department process of data collection during civilian stops and frisks will change to comply with a new state law, SB 1304, signed into law on August 12, 2015 and taking effect by January 2016.

Updates to policy in accordance with the SB 1304 include:

  • Officers must document whether a stop resulted in a frisk and/or search and whether any contraband was found;
  • Officers must issue receipts containing their name and badge number to anyone detained and either frisked and/or searched; and
  • Stops resulting in tickets, summons, or arrests will be documented in the same centralized database as all other stops, finally making comparison and evaluation of efficacy possible.

In addition to the above changes that will impact all law enforcement agencies in the state, a new settlement between the ACLU of Illinois and the Chicago Police Department requires that stop and frisk data and training policies be submitted to the ACLU and a special monitor for review. The monitor, retired federal Magistrate judge Arlander Keys, will issue twice annual reports on CPD’s progress reducing the number of unconstitutional stops, frisks, and searches conducted by its officers.

Download and view the CPD’s current directive regarding contact cards here:  Chicago Police Contact Information System.

Below is an example of contact cards currently used by officers when a stop occurs.

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Cook County Justice Watch has also obtained a training document on vehicle stops and warrantless searches that was recently distributed to CPD officers. Download and view the document here: Vehicle Stops and Warrantless Searches

Below is a conclusion of what officers can and cannot do during lawful vehicle stops.

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The issue of police conduct during stops and searches has been the focus of community organizing in Chicago for quite some time, as detailed in a previous post by Cook County Justice Watch, Organizing in Chicago for Stop and Frisk Transparency. Below is a chart composed by We Charge Genocide which details the similarities and differences in the proposed STOP ACT, the ACLU agreement and SB 1304.

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Organizing in Chicago for Stop and Frisk Transparency

Organizing in Chicago for Stop and Frisk Transparency

July 30, 2015
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Caption: Photo of #ChiStops Intern Gillian Giles by Debbie Southorn, via twitter (@madlittledebbie)

Yesterday morning in Chicago City Hall, We Charge Genocide and Chicago Votes held a press conference introducing a new effort to record and disseminate information about Stop and Frisk in Chicago: The Stops, Transparency, Oversight, and Protection (STOP) Act. The ordinance is being sponsored by Aldermen Roderick T. Sawyer (6th Ward), Proco “Joe” Moreno (1st Ward), and Roberto Maldonado (26th Ward). We Charge Genocide (WCG) argues that public access to data is needed to evaluate whether stop and frisk is being used fairly and effectively in Chicago and to prevent racial profiling of youth of color, and particularly Black youth.

In March of this year, a report by the ACLU of Illinois found that Chicagoans were stopped at four times the rate of New Yorkers during the height of stops and frisks by NYPD. In the summer of 2014, CPD conducted more than 250,000 stops that did not result in arrests. Significantly, 72% of the stops were of Black residents, though Chicago is only 32% Black. Furthermore, the ACLU’s review of a random sample of CPD contact cards found that officers’ justifications for the stops did not meet legal standards of reasonable suspicion fully half of the time, raising concerns about rampant Fourth Amendment violations similar to those found in NYPD’s stop and frisk practices.  We Charge Genocide and Chicago Votes are emphasizing the collective experience of intimidation, harassment, and fear that comes from unjustified street stops and how these practices erode trust between police and community members.

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Caption: Caleb Porter, Chicago Votes member, says that he was first stopped and handcuffed by police at age 13, an experience he calls “terrifying”. Photo by The Chicago Reporter, via twitter (@ChicagoReporter, link)

The STOP Act would require documentation of all stops, frisks, and other searches conducted by CPD. Data collected would include the person’s perceived race, age, gender, and the location of and reason for the stop. In addition to demographic information about the individual persons stopped, CPD officers would be required to record whether any frisk or more extensive search took place, and if so, the specific legal justification for the frisk and/or search. Records would also include whether any force was used in the stop, and any outcome of the stop such as whether contraband was found and/or whether a warning, ticket, or arrest took place. The STOP Act would further require CPD to release all this information publicly in quarterly reports.

People stopped by CPD would receive a receipt with the name and badge number of any officers involved. In addition, when a CPD officer claims that a search was conducted pursuant to consent of the person stopped, the STOP Act requires written documentation of that consent. These recommendations, like the public disclosure of demographic data, comes straight out of the Final Report of The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing released this past May.

A pending state bill, SB1304, would require police departments across the state to document investigatory stops that led to frisks, searches, tickets, or arrests, but not mere stops. The state law would also require police departments to submit their stop and frisk data to the Illinois Department of Transportation, which would release reports annually to the Governor, the General Assembly, the Profiling Prevention and Data Oversight Board, and law enforcement agencies once annually. SB1304 was passed by both houses in May 2015 and sent to Governor Rauner on June 26th, but has not yet been signed into law.

We Charge Genocide members and leaders of the #ChiStops campaign, Page May and Malcolm London, have been conducting teach-ins with young people throughout the summer. Reaching mostly high school students, their goal is to foster a youth-led effort to end Stop and Frisk in Chicago. On August 9th, #ChiStops will host a Speak-Out Against Stop & Frisk and Police Violence. Chicago Votes youth members have been canvassing community events to talk to people about Stop & Frisk and have collected more than 2,000 comment cards in favor of the STOP Act. They are hosting a Forum on Police Accountability today, Thursday, July 30th in Back of the Yards.

As of today, 35 community organizations have signed on to support the ordinance, including Black Lives Matter – Chicago, BYP 100, First Defense Legal Aid, and the National Lawyers Guild of Chicago.

The full text of the proposed ordinance can be found here. WCG’s fact sheet is also available on their website.