Former Chicago cop, Howard Morgan, 63. (Screenshot from Fox32 News Chicago)
A former Chicago cop who was shot 28 times by a group of White officers was released from prison after his clemency petition for a 40-year sentence was accepted.
The petition of Howard Morgan, 63, along with that of 43 others, was granted by outgoing Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn.
On Feb. 21, 2005, Morgan was pulled over by police for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Morgan was off duty at the time from his job as a detective for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad line; Morgan had previously worked for the Chicago Police Department for eight years.
According to The Chicago Sun-Times, prosecutors said Morgan became uncooperative and fired his service weapon at police; The Huffington Post reported that Morgan claimed he never fired his weapon, a claim backed by up the testimony of the lone independent witness in the case. Morgan was shot 28 times, with 21 of those bullets hitting him in the back, according to MSNBC.
Howard Morgan. (Photos Courtesy of FreeHowardMorgan.com)
A jury subsequently found Morgan not guilty on three charges, including discharging his weapon, and deadlocked on a charge of attempted murder. In a 2012 retrial, a second jury found him guilty of attempted murder; he was later sentenced to 40 years in prison.
“What I really believe this is, is an example of driving while Black,” Morgan’s attorney, Benjamin Crump, told MSNBC. “And we don’t need to go much further than that.”
Despite Morgan’s release, his conviction on the charge still stands.
“Right now I’m just concentrating on clearing my name, dealing with this conviction,” Morgan told Chicago CW affiliate WGN. “Clearing it because I’m absolutely innocent of those charges.”