CHICAGO—Undeterred by subfreezing temperatures, 25 family members, friends, and activists held a candlelight vigil at 1 a.m. this morning to commemorate the life of twenty-two year old Rekia Boyd and demand that her murderer be brought to justice.
The Nite Vigil was held at the precise place and time that Rekia Boyd was killed one year ago.
One year has passed, and Rekia’s family is still seeking justice.
Curiously, Rekia’s murderer is known. He has publicly confessed to the shooting. His whereabouts are known. The handgun that he used to kill Rekia was state-issued, as were the bullets.
In fact, the candlelight vigil for Rekia was held right in front of the killer’s home.
The individual who took Rekia’s life one year ago is however a Chicago police detective. For that reason, and that reason alone, Dante Servin has yet to be charged with any crime.
One-year ago today, Rekia and three friends were outside enjoying an unseasonably warm evening in Douglas Park on Chicago’s west side. Off-duty Chicago police detective Dante Servin called 9-1-1 to report that the group was making excessive noise in front of his home. Rather than await the arrival of on-duty Chicago police officers to handle the minor disturbance, Servin left his residence alone, in civilian clothes and with his service weapon. He then got into his Mercedes-Benz and drove up on the group of four.
After exchanging words with one of the males in the group, Servin began to wildly fire his service weapon from behind the wheel of his car, striking Rekia Boyd with a bullet in the head. Rekia never regained consciousness and later died in the hospital.
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This morning at 1 a.m., the official temperature in Douglas Park, Chicago was 17 degrees Fahrenheit, compounded by a wind chill that made it feel like six degrees.
In spite of the cold, people came out to support Rekia’s family and to create new significance, to reclaim that place and that time with unity and love, after it was abandoned one-year ago to the regressive forces that seek to destroy life.
Friends and family members of Rekia spoke one by one, saying prayers for Rekia, telling stories and memories of their time with her, and speaking about the pain and the loss that they have come to share over the last year.
Rekia’s brother Martinez Sutton spoke about the struggle to bring his sister’s killer to justice, and about the pain his family has endured in the year since her life was taken.
He also shared funny anecdotes.
“You knew [Rekia] was around if she did her laugh, she had a signature laugh. It wasn’t ‘ha-haha-ha’ it was ‘ha-HAH!’” said Martinez, laughing along with the crowd, but with tears still in his eyes.
Supporter Red Schulte captured the mood of the crowd at the Candlelight Vigil with this Facebook post:
Our hands may be frozen, and our heads may be pounding, but our hearts are emboldened and on the side of justice. Rekia Boyd’s family continues to be a source of strength in the fight against police terror in Chicago- they keep us strong, and I can only hope we do the same for them. Solidarity on this night, one year later, and every night. We want justice! We are Rekia Boyd!
Rekia’s family and supporters are pressing on with their demands that Servin be fired from his position as a Chicago police detective, without pension. They are also demanding that the State’s Attorney file charges against Servin, or announce that no charges will be filed so that the Department of Justice can begin the process of pursuing federal charges.