CHICAGO (CBS) — On this day in 2012, Rekia Boyd was shot by an off-duty Chicago police officer – and the officer who pulled the trigger was later acquitted in a controversial decision.
On Monday evening, Boyd’s friends and family gathered to remember his Boyd and the legacy left by his case. But instead of gathering to cry, Boyd’s family and community activists came together to smile and laugh.
“Laughter is medicine, man,” Boyd’s brother Martinez Sutton said.
While Monday nights were synonymous with laughter, over the years there has been no shortage of tears for Martinez Sutton—
“It’s tough,” Sutton said. “You know, you miss that physical presence.”
On March 21, 2012, Boyd and a group of people were hanging out in Douglass Park when Servin, angry at the noise they were making, got into a shouting match with a man in the group. Prosecutors said Servin, who was off duty at the time, fired five shots over his shoulder from inside his car, hitting Boyd in the head and scuffing another person in the group. .
Servin claimed he opened fire because he thought he saw someone coming towards him with a gun, although investigators only found a cellphone at the scene.
“Who would think being loud would get you killed?” said Rebecca Cook of the Chicago Westside Branch NAACP.
In 2015, Servin was acquitted of manslaughter, reckless driving and reckless discharge of a firearm.
The superintendent of police at the time. Garry McCarthy moved to fire Servin later that year – just a day before officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with first-degree murder in the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald – after previously reporting the matter criminal charge against the officer as “a security risk.” McCarthy had said he feared the charges would cause other officers to hesitate before opening fire when they were in a life-threatening situation.
Servin resigned a day before his disciplinary hearing before the Chicago Police Board in May 2016.
Organizers of the Monday night event said Boyd’s loss paved the way for officers to be held accountable in Chicago
“The way the judge determined he would know led to the indictment of Laquan’s killer for murder,” said Crista Noel of Women’s All Point Bulletin.
And 10 years later, it’s clear that sometimes laughter truly is the best medicine.