Rekia Boyd (c.1989-2012) was shot in the head at one in the morning on March 21st 2012 by an off-duty Chicago policeman who was investigating a “disturbance”. She died at the hospital a day later.
Let us review:
- February 2nd 2012: Ramarley Graham, 18, black, unarmed, shot dead by the police. No arrest made.
- February 26th 2012: Trayvon Martin, 17, black, unarmed, shot dead by the neighbourhood watch. No arrest made.
- March 21st 2012: Rekia Boyd, 22, black, unarmed, shot dead by an off-duty policeman. No arrest made.
If we can make it to April 24th without another one of these that will be a record for the year.
The Rekia Boyd shooting took place on the West Side of Chicago in the gentrifying Lawndale neighbourhood. About 60 to 70 people had gathered at Douglas Park to enjoy one of the first warm nights of the spring.
Here is how the police tell it:
The detective was in his car and stopped as he approached four people on the street who were causing a disturbance. When he told them to quiet down, they approached his car and one of them raised a gun and pointed it at the detective. At that point he fired a couple of shots in fear for his life. He hit two offenders who ran from the scene.
Here is how Antonio Cross, the alleged gunman, tells it:
I turn around I see him sticking his gun out of the window. I said, “Oh my God”, and I put my hand up like this (put his hand over his face to shield himself from the gunshot). I think he tried to shoot me in my face too.
He was constantly fucking shooting his gun. I never had a gun. He told me to sit down and shut the fuck up. I sat down on the pole while I looked over at that young lady’s body motionless. She moved one time and never moved again.
Cross said all that he had in his hand at the time was his mobile phone – something that can be confirmed through telephone records. The friend he called said he heard five shots and then the call dropped. He tried calling back several times but got no answer.
Cross, protecting his face with his hands, nearly lost a thumb. Boyd, who was standing nearby, got shot in the head and lost her life.
There were 60 or so people there. Only the police officer saw Cross with a gun. Police were unable to recover any gun from the scene.
Pulling a gun on a police officer is a serious crime, but because the police cannot find the gun, they are charging Cross with only one count of aggravated assault, a misdemeanour.
And the officer himself? No charge, no arrest. The police have ruled the killing of Rekia Boyd “justified”. They say they are looking into it – but have not even gone door to door to question witnesses.
The officer had just moved to that neighbourhood. A week after the shooting 200 protesters showed up at his door asking for justice.