Last Saturday, ministers, attorneys, community activists and neighbors came together to support and raise funds for the family of Howard Morgan. Howard Morgan is the former Chicago policeman and railroad detective who was shot 25 times on the night of Feb. 21 on Chicago's West Side.
Currently, Mr. Morgan is hospitalized in Oak Forest Hospital where he has been shackled to his bed (even though his severe injuries make it highly unlikely that he would try to escape) and held on a $2 million bond. One of the main reasons for the rally is to help raise funds to meet the $250,000 needed for the bond. Mrs. Morgan said she would like very much to have her husband transferred to a hospital of her choice, since the couple does have very adequate insurance coverage.
Former alderman Wallace Davis, now the owner of Wallace Catfish Restaurant, told his own harrowing story to the crowd, saying he knows very well what Mr. Morgan is going through. In the late 1970s, Davis owned two businesses. Burglars were attempting to break in, so he called the police. When the police arrived they accused Davis of being the burglar and shot him several times, leaving him for dead. He was placed in a body-bag and taken to the Cook County Morgue. An attendant happened to notice one of his toes move and fortunately he managed to survive the many gunshot wounds after many months of hospitalization. Davis went on to become a West Side alderman and today is a very successful businessman. He encouraged the family to stay strong because he knows they will be able to overcome this nightmare.
Mrs. Rosalind Morgan came to the podium to thank everyone for their support. "It is a very trying time. However, I know God was there Feb. 21st. He did not leave my husband. The angels had camped around him. In spite of the situation that he's faced with at this point, his main goal is to tell you thank you. I thank God for Leo Holt and James Montgomery," she said. An excellent vocalist, Mrs. Morgan then brought the house down with a song of appreciation for the audience: "A Bridge Over Trouble Waters."
Other speakers at the rally included attorney Leo Holt, former Afro-American Police League president; Pat Hill, former 15th District commander; John O'Shea, American Progress Assoc. president; Webb Evans; attorney Lawrence Kennon; Bishop M.L. Crawford, father of Rosalind Morgan; NAACP national investigator Ron Sanders; Chicago Committee to Defend Bill of Rights President Lester Jackso; Rev. Paul Jakes; and members of the Nation of Islam.
Because Morgan was unable to attend court hearings, his attorney, Leo Holt (a former judge), requested that the hearing be held at the hospital. On April 15, the bail hearing was conducted at his bedside. Morgan has been charged with four counts of attempted first-degree murder for shooting at the four police officers. The D.A.'s office requested that Judge Kathleen Pantle deny bail, stating he is "a danger" and the nature of the crime makes him a flight risk.
Mr. Morgan's police career and family shows that he was not a danger or flight risk. He was Chicago police officer for eight years who received excellent evaluations and has an outstanding record with the Burlington Railroad where he is a railroad detective. Although Judge Pantle stated the prosecutors did not meet their burden proving a flight risk, she still set bail at $2 million.
The next court hearing is schedule for May 20. Judge Pantle is to reconsider bail reduction. On May 19, Rev. Paul Jakes Jr. and supporters plan to meet again at Old St. Paul Church, 531 N. Kedzie, at 7:30 p.m. And a fish fry is scheduled for May 3 at Wallace Catfish Corner, California & Madison.