Judge forbids release of bodycam footage showing death of Chicago police officer Ella French

On Saturday August 7th, a man by the name of Monty Morgan was charged with killing a Chicago police officer during a traffic stop. Mr. Morgan has admitted to investigators that he pulled his handgun out of his waistband during the traffic stop and opened fire which ended up killing Officer Elle French and left two other officers injured and hospitalized.

In his recent bond hearing the Cook County Judge Arthur Willis order Mr. Morgan to be held without bond on charges of first-degree murder, attempted murder of the two other injured officers, unlawful use of a weapon and aggravated unlawful use of a weapon. Judge Willis said, “They didn’t have their weapons drawn, they weren’t firing on him, and callously (Monty Morgan) shoots and kills one, and the other is in critical condition”. 

The incident began after the police stopped the SUV Mr. Morgan was in because it had expired plates. 21-year-old Morgan was a passenger and his 22-year-old brother Eric, was driving. The states attorney James Murphy provided some details about the event stating the brothers initially followed the instructions given by the officers. Eric Morgan willingly handed over the keys and stepped out of the vehicle. The situation then escalated once Monty Morgan (the passenger) refused to put his drink and cellphone down. Murphy then said, “He began physically jerking his arms away from the officers.”

According to the state attorney the footage from the police bodycam shows the Monty Morgan had a handgun tucked into his waistband. The bodycam footage shows he struggled with police as he began firing several shots. At that point, the gun shots his 29-year-old French once in the head and then 39-year-old officer in the right eye, the shoulder, and his brain.

The name of the 39-year-old officer has not been released. Once shot, both officers landed on the ground face up with their bodycams still recording. Murphy continued the details on this tragic event by stating Eric Morgan had run off during the initial commotion with his brother and a third officer chased after him but officer decided to turn around and run back once he heard gun shots. The office exchanged gun shots with Monty Morgan and then the officer fell to the ground. 

According to court documents Eric ran back to his brother who then handed him the gun. The third officer was able to get back up and shoot Monty Morgan again which then hit Morgan in the abdomen. Authorities stated they captured Eric Morgan in a yard where he was trying to dump his brother’s gun. Eric has been charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and obstruction of justice.  

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability in Chicago said in a statement that they received an order on Monday from Cook County Circuit Court judge which forbids the city from publically releasing any material connected to the shooting. According to Yahoo News it was a single page ruling and the judge did not elaborate on the reason for the decision. It was reported that the judge only wrote saying that the bodycam footage and any other evidence can’t be released “during the pendency of the criminal matter.”



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