Seven years ago, an off-duty black police officer was shot 28 times by fellow officers. According to news reports, Howard Morgan, the officer in question, was stopped when he was driving the wrong way down a one-way street without headlights near his home in North Lawndale.
When four officers tried to arrest him, Morgan allegedly began shooting at them. The officers returned fire, hitting him 21 times in the back and seven times in the chest. The four officers suffered minor injuries.
Morgan survived and spent seven months in recovery. But today, he's facing 80 years in prison for charges that include attempted murder and aggravated battery with a firearm.
Morgan was convicted in January on four counts of attempted murder, though he was cleared of charges of aggravated battery and discharging a weapon at a police officer in a 2007 trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced April 5.
His wife, Rosalind Morgan, says that whole case has been a cover-up to protect the misconduct of police.
“[Morgan] had never been in trouble, no prior arrests, no drugs, no alcohol. Four white officers and one black Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad police man with his weapon on him — around the corner from our home — and he just decided to go crazy? No. That’s ludicrous,” she recently told the Sun-Times.
The Chicago Reporter's Barber Shop Show will be on air Friday at noon to discuss Howard Morgan's’s sentencing, plus the broader issue of recent police shootings and accountability. Tune it to Vocalo 89.5 FM to listen to the show live.
What are your thoughts on the increasing gun violence in our neighborhoods, destined to go up - as it does often does - when the heat of the summer hits.
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Boyd’s case highlights growing calls for police accountability in the light of a string of shootings.
Late last month, an off-duty police officer was also involved in a shooting in the North Lawndale neighborhood. This time, the victim was hit once in the head. Rekia Boyd, 22, died on Thursday, March 22. The officer said that a man had approached him with a gun, but witnesses say that it was only a cell phone. Boyd was a bystander.
The day Boyd died, a Chicago Police Dept. officer shot a man allegedly holding a sawed-off shotgun. On Friday, March 23, there was another shooting involving a police officer in Chatham. And on March 25, Chicago officers in Lawndale fatally shot another man, who they say pulled a gun on them.
Dolores Smith-Scott, Rekia Boyd’s aunt, discusses her niece’s death during a Saturday protest in North Lawndale only blocks from where the shooting took place: