Outgoing Illinois Governor Pat Quinn commuted a 40-year sentence for Howard Morgan, a Chicago man who was shot 28 times by police before then being convicted of attempted murder.
In 2005, Morgan was driving the wrong way down a one-way street near his home. A fight broke out in which Morgan was shot 28 times, with 21 shots in his back. Although police say Morgan, a former police officer working as a railroad detective, shot first, Morgan has denied firing any shots and says police fired at him as soon as they saw his gun.
Watch Morgan declare his fight to clear his name
Morgan’s first trial, in 2007, ended with a not-guilty verdict for firing his weapon, but his second trial ended with a 40-year sentence for attempted murder.
Morgan’s lawyers have since complained that evidence was withheld from the trial and have also complained about double jeopardy.
Quinn’s decision to release Morgan has generated some controversy, especially among police unions, but Morgan’s supporters believe that the decision was needed to help alleviate the pain caused by overzealous policing that has been so much in the news lately.
As for Morgan himself, he is happy to be home but far from content. At a press conference Friday sitting next to civil rights attorney Ben Crump, Morgan vowed to fight to clear his name.
“Right now I’m just concentrating on clearing my name,” Morgan said after his release, “because I’m absolutely innocent of those charges.”