The shooting death of Chicago police officer Ella French could have been avoided, had police and prosecutors taken earlier alleged offenses more seriously, according to a report.
In a review of previous charges filed against Emonte Morgan, the 21-year-old man charged with French’s murder, the Chicago Sun-Times reported a big twist: Just a few months ago, the man was in a hit-and-run crash that left one person seriously injured. He was arrested for that crash and released on a personal recognizance bond, despite the fact that he was already on probation, the outlet noted.
The Sun-Times reported that while out of jail after being arrested for an alleged robbery, Morgan was involved in an accident in Chicago in April. During that accident, the man’s passenger was ejected and he allegedly fled the scene.
The suspect in the killing of French was let out of jail and scheduled appearances in court were postponed repeatedly. The Sun-Times reported it is unknown if Cook County prosecutors even knew he was on probation at the time of the crash.
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Additionally, police would not tell the outlet why Morgan was not charged with a felony in the crash.
Police confirmed that in that instance, Morgan was charged with driving without a license, operating an uninsured vehicle and leaving the scene of an accident.
The department declined to comment when pressed about why a robbery suspect who was involved in a hit-and-run was not charged with any felonies.
A Chicago-area doctor who said she witnessed the hit-and-run crash told the Sun-Times she was shocked to see his face as the suspect in French’s killing this past week. She said she had assumed he was behind bars.
“It’s pretty incredible that they let him go,” said a doctor who only wished to be identified as Diane. “That might have been able to have been prevented if he wasn’t let back out.”
Diane told the paper she was riding a bicycle on the night of April 9 when she saw an erratic driver. She said that the driver was Morgan.
“This guy is gonna kill someone,” she recalled thinking to herself. “I’ve never seen anyone drive so recklessly in my life.”
Diane said not long after she heard a “terrible” sound and saw a man ejected through the windshield of Morgan’s van.
She said she rendered first aid to the victim, who had sustained severe head injuries.
“He was in bad shape, I mean that was just terrible head trauma,” she told the paper. “I was telling him not to move because if there was any kind of spinal cord damage, I didn’t want him to make it worse.”
The Sun-Times reported that, per police, Morgan only stopped his vehicle when he crashed into a parked car. He then reportedly tried to run, but was apprehended by a security guard. Diane kept up with the case and shared her dismay that the man police said shot one of their own was the same man she had seen harm someone in a reckless incident.
“I was in utter disbelief and felt sadness for her family,” Diane said of French. “People who do things like this, injure people and just are able to drive away without thinking twice, what else are these people up to?”
Per the Sun-Times report, and the doctor’s testimony, it appears had Morgan been jailed after being arrested while on probation, French might be alive today. Morgan allegedly shot French and another officer who had pulled him over.
French died on Aug. 7, and the other officer is still recovering. A third officer at the scene exchanged gunfire with Morgan and hit the suspect in the abdomen.
This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
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