The family of a Chicago man shot 28 times by fellow police officers is hoping that the Trayvon Martin coverage will draw more attention to their case, which they also believe is racially motivated.
According to the Chicago Sun-Times, in 2005 Howard Morgan was off-duty as a detective for the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad when he was pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Four policeman were on the scene, all of them white, who alleged that Morgan opened fire with his service weapon when they tried to arrest him. The officers then claim that they shot him 28 times in self-defense. Morgan spent 7 months in the hospital as a result of his injuries, but survived the shooting.
His wife, Rosalind Morgan, has long doubted officers’ claims that he “snapped” and fired on them.
“Four white officers and one black Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad polic man with his weapon on him — around the corner from our home — and he just decided to go crazy? No. That’s ludicrous,” she told the Sun-Times.
After being released from the hospital, Howard Morgan was charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder, three counts of aggravated battery with a firearm and one count of aggravated discharge of a firearm.
In 2007, a jury acquitted him of the two counts of aggravated battery as well as the count of aggravated discharge of a firearm. The jury was hung on the five remaining counts, however, resulting in a mistrial.
Morgan was tried again in January 2012, a move supporters believe violated his Constitutional rights and amounted to double jeopardy. In the new trial, a jury found him guilty of attempted murder and was not aware that he’d been acquitted of the previous charges.
A Change.org petition ordering that all the charges be dropped suggests that the police have been attempting to cover up the events of that February night.
“Howard Morgan was never tested for gun residue to confirm if he even fired a weapon on the morning in question [...] Howard Morgan’s van was crushed and destroyed without notice or cause before any forensic investigation could be done.”
Morgan will be sentenced April 5, 2012. He faces 80 years in prison.
For more information and to sign a petition for Morgan, visit FreeHowardMorgan.com.