An African-American cop from Chicago is facing 80 years behind prison for attempted murder after four white police officers shot him nearly 30 times and left him for dead.
Howard Morgan, a former police officer with the Chicago, Illinois Police Department, was shot 28 times by fellow cops in 2005 after being caught driving the wrong direction down a one way street. According to the cops, Morgan met the responding officers by utilizing a weapon of his own, although he argues otherwise. Morgan would go on to be found not guilty by a jury on three counts, including discharging his weapon, and although they deadlocked when deciding on attempted murder, a separate jury went on to convict him of that charge this past January.
In addition to an arsenal of missing evidence, conflicting accounts and widespread criticism, Morgan is expected to be sentenced on Thursday this week and could end up behind bars for 80 years. Although online petitions and other grassroots campaign have come to the side of Morgan and argue for his innocence, he is likely to end up in prison for years to come — after he was the one that was shot at 28 times.
Friends and family were the first to defend Morgan, but now the Occupy Chicago group is offering assistance as well. The Windy City’s Occupy Wall Street offshoot has already held a rally to raise awareness of the alleged injustice against Morgan and are hoping that, even if already convicted, they will be able to introduce to the public what some are calling just another example of racial bias in America’s justice system.
"After being left for dead, he survived and was then charged with attempted murder of the four white officers who brutalized him," explains Occupy Chicago on the group’s website. The group also argues that the four white officers who opened fire should be prosecuted for attempted murder, as proof exists that they tried to kill Howard Morgan. In the case against the former police officer, however, the prosecution has failed to provide substantial evidence that suggests Morgan opened fire.
A petition on Change.org to US President Barack Obama urges the commander-in-chief to have charges dropped against Morgan, and a lack of substantial evidence has many saying that the former cop should not be sentenced as a killer when the prosecution cannot prove as much. Not only was Morgan’s automobile never examined by forensic investigators, but Morgan was never actually proven to have fired a gun. Additionally, the bulletproof vest of one officer who says he was shot on the scene has never been made available at trial.
Morgan's wife, Rosalind Morgan, tells the Sun-Times that she has her own doubts that her husband would open fire on a group of officers without reason and in his own backyard. “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 says.
Rosalind Morgan adds that the court’s repeated trying of her husband exhibits a case of obstruction of justice since Howard was brought to trial more than once for the alleged crime. The Change.org petition also argues that the constitutional guarantee of a “speedy trial” was not established, noting that it took nearly seven years and several trials to get a conviction in court.
“If they can do this and eliminate double jeopardy and your constitutional rights, then my God, I fear for every Afro-American — whether they be male or female — in this corrupt unjust system,” Morgan's wife adds to the Sun-Times.