A court has temporarily blocked Chicago authorities from releasing body camera video of Chicago police Officer Ella French being shot and killed during a traffic stop, as detailed by a prosecutor in horrifying detail.
A Cook County Circuit Court judge issued an order Monday prohibiting “the city of Chicago and its entities” from publicly releasing any material related to the shooting under the city’s Video Release Policy and the Freedom of Information Act, according to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability in Chicago.
According to authorities, the video shows defendant Emonte “Monty” Morgan opening fire on French and her boyfriend, who was seriously injured, during a traffic check on August 7.
The court did not give a justification for his decision in the one-page judgment, instead stating that body camera video and other evidence cannot be shared “during the pendency of the criminal action.”
In a statement, the police watchdog body stated, “COPA is dedicated to openness and is conducting a comprehensive study and investigation of the event.” “When the Judge’s court order is lifted, body-worn cameras, third-party footage, and other information relevant to this event will be disclosed.”
The news comes as French’s colleagues and loved ones prepare for her funeral, which will take place on Thursday at Chicago’s St. Rita of Cascia Shrine. The homily will be delivered by Cardinal Blase Cupich, archbishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who announced it on Monday.
Officials said French, 29, is the city’s first female officer murdered in the line of duty since 1988 and the first Chicago police officer killed in the course of duty since 2018.
According to a criminal complaint, Morgan, 21, was detained after being shot during a shootout with one of French’s fellow cops, who evaded injuries in the battle. Morgan is accused of first-degree murder, attempted murder of a police officer on two counts, unlawful use of a weapon by a criminal, and aggravated use of a weapon by a felon.
According to court documents, Morgan’s brother, Eric Morgan, 19, was detained and charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a firearm by a felon, and one count of obstruction of justice for driving the car French and the cops stopped.
The ABC Chicago station WLS received a still image of the body camera footage from the incident, as well as another horrific image of French in her dying moments — standing at the driver’s side door, shining a flashlight into the vehicle that had been pulled over for expired plates.
Emonte Morgan is shown in body camera footage walking over the injured cops after allegedly shooting them, said Risa Lanier, the top deputy state’s attorney for Cook County, during a news conference last week.
According to authorities, French’s 39-year-old boyfriend, who has not been identified, is in serious condition with a gunshot lodged in his brain.
The incident occurred as Chicago police dealt with an increase in gun crime in the city. According to Chicago Police Department crime data, 2,176 individuals have been shot in 2021 as of Sunday, a 12 percent raise over the same period in 2020.