On Sunday, a 33-year-old man died while in police custody on the north side of San Antonio, Texas. According to KEN 5, San Antonio Police Chief Anthony Trevino said his officers received a call to the home in the 4800 block of Legend Well Drive after a report of a family disturbance. It was there encountered Norman Cooper, who Police Chief Trevino says was “under the influence” of some sort of drug. As officers tried to get him to leave the house, the chief claims that Norman became increasingly aggressive and started to approach the officers. Then one officer deployed his Taser. The chief said Norman removed the prongs, and a second officer deployed his stun gun. The police and Norman were in a struggle, until he was taken into custody and under control. After the struggle, officers realized Norman was unresponsive. He was pronounced dead on Legend Well Drive. The two officers who used the Tasers are now on administrative duty. The San Antonio Homicide unit is investigating the incident.
Judge Dennis Porter acquitted Chicago police detective, Dante Servin Monday, April 20, on charges that he shot and killed 22-year-old, Rekia Boyd. The Chicago Tribune reports that Judge Porter ruled that prosecutors failed to prove that Dante Servin acted recklessly, pointing out that Illinois courts have consistently held that anytime an individual points a gun at an intended victim and shoots, it is an intentional act, not a reckless one. On March 21, 2012 Boyd was fatally shot in the back of the head, while other rounds rubbed against Antonio Cross’s (one of the four people who had their backs to him in a dark West Side alley) hand and hit a signpost. Cross pulled an object from his waistband, pointed it at Servin and ran toward his car. Police found only a cell phone. Cross was initially charged following the shooting, but the misdemeanor aggravated assault charge was dropped in March 2013, which was the same day the city formally agreed to pay Boyd’s estate $4.5 million to settle a wrongful-death lawsuit. In November 2013, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez charged Servin with four counts of involuntary manslaughter, reckless discharge of a weapon and reckless conduct.
Also on Monday, now-former Inkster police officer William Melendez has been charged with one count of assault to do great bodily harm after the beating of Floyd Dent in a January arrest. Assault to do great bodily harm is a 10-year felony, while mistreatment of a prisoner and misconduct in office are each five-year felonies. In an announcement by Wayne County Prosecutor, Kym Worthy, Melendez was fired after a dash cam video surfaced which showed him kicking, dragging and punching Dent 16 times while in a chokehold during an arrest. The officer is currently employed as a part-time officer in Highland Park. Highland Park Police Chief Kevin Coney says that Melendez hasn’t been used since January and won’t be used, though he is still a member of the department. According to NBC News, The department said in a statement that Melendez had not worked there for at least 60 days, and would not work there, pending the outcome of the case. Dent faced drug charges after police claimed they found cocaine in his vehicle at the time of the beating. Dent firmly maintained that the officers had planted the evidence in his car and had no drugs in his system following the incident. Prosecutor Worthy said that the previous charges against Dent have been dismissed.
Following the death of Freddie Gray one week after being arrested by Baltimore City police, six police officers involved in the arrest have been suspended. The officers involved were suspended with pay pending the outcome of the investigation. The 25-year-old was rushed to the hospital with a severed spinal cord after being chased and tackled by officers. Police Commissioner Anthony W. Batts stated in a news conference on Monday that the Police Department would wrap up its inquiry on May 1.