One of two men charged in the death of a Chicago police officer allegedly committed a hit-and-run last April while on probation following a robbery conviction in 2019, the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
A Chicago area physician, who asked the Sun-Times to identify her only as Diane, told the newspaper that on April 9, she witnessed Emonte Morgan, one of the two brothers accused of fatally shooting Officer Ella French during a traffic stop last Saturday in West Englewood, driving into a man in a crosswalk. Diane said that she was riding her bike at the time when she saw a white Dodge Caravan weaving in between the lanes on Wells Street.
"This guy is gonna kill someone," Diane said she thought at the time. "I’ve never seen anyone drive so recklessly in my life."
She then heard a "terrible" sound and saw a man bounce off the van’s windshield and into a stop sign. Diane said that the van did not stop, and that she waited with the man who had been hit until first responders arrived.
"He was in bad shape, I mean that was just terrible head trauma," she told the newspaper. "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."
Morgan, who was on probation at the time following a conviction for robbery in 2019, allegedly continued to drive until he struck a parked car a few blocks away, after which he got out of the van and reportedly attempted to run before he was stopped by a security guard. Police officers came and took him into custody, but he was released the next day having been charged with several offenses, the most serious being a misdemeanor.
A spokesperson for the Cook County state’s attorney’s office said that law enforcement did not request that prosecutors seek felony charges for the incident, only filing misdemeanor charges and citations and giving the case to Traffic Court. Chicago police declined to elaborate on the decision process when asked by the Sun-Times, and when asked if officers were aware that Morgan was on probation, a spokesperson for the Chicago police said, "We do not have that information at this time."
Diane told the Sun-Times that she looked for details about the accident to see if the victim had survived, only to see that Morgan had been released the day after he was taken into custody. She noted that she had a particular interest in the case because her mother had been involved in a hit-and-run that no one faced charges over.
"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?" she asked.
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