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Trial begins for man involved in murder of CPD’s Ella French


The trial of the man accused of shooting and killing Chicago police officer Ella French and wounding her partner is set to begin Monday.

French, 29, was killed during a traffic stop in Englewood in August 2021, and his death sparked a wave of grief and anger across the city. His partner is Carlos Yanez Jr. was seriously injured.

Emonte Morgan, 23, is charged in an 85-count indictment with murder, attempted murder, aggravated battery and other felonies in connection with the killing of French, the wounding of Yanez and the alleged shooting at officer Joshua Blas. His brother, Eric Morgan, was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the shooting in October.

The trial will begin Monday morning with jury selection at the Leighton Criminal Courts Building before Judge Ursula Walowski in a courtroom expected to be packed with police officers, family members and other supporters.

Prosecutors alleged that on Aug. 7, 2021, after French and two officers stopped a gray SUV driven by Eric Morgan near West 63rd Street and South Bell Avenue, Emonte Morgan fired multiple shots at the officers. Emonte Morgan was also shot during the conflict.

French had been serving as an officer since April 2018 and was posthumously praised by the department and the community for his care and compassion.

Anjanette Young, who was subjected to a botched raid by the Chicago Police Department, released a statement following the murder, saying that “the only officer who showed any dignity or respect to Ms. Young on the night of the raid was French.”

And months before he died, French helped take a baby with a gunshot wound to the hospital.

“He truly cared about his community; so I’m happy to say that I actually got to see him in action,” the baby’s uncle said. “He was really kind-hearted. He had a great spirit.”

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have been wrangling over evidence and courtroom details in recent months. Defense attorneys unsuccessfully tried to move the case out of Cook County because of pretrial publicity and to ban uniformed officers from filling the courtroom, arguing it would “intimidate the jury.”

The hearing Tuesday offered a preview of an emotionally charged trial in which prosecutors played body camera video of the traffic stop, including painful moments after the shooting in which a police officer yelled “French” after falling. Prosecutors decided to silence parts of the video, but large portions will be shown to the jury.

Mourners attend a prayer service for Chicago police officer Ella French on September 3, 2021. French was fatally shot and his partner, Officer Carlos Yanez Jr., was killed. was seriously injured. (Antonio Perez/Chicago Tribune)

Prosecutors said the night he was killed, French, Yanez and Blas pulled the SUV over for expired license plates while Eric Morgan drove his brother and a female passenger.

Prosecutors said Eric Morgan handed over the keys when asked, but Emonte Morgan refused to give up the drink and cellphone in his hand, leading to a fight.

Prosecutors alleged that Eric Morgan ran away and Emonte Morgan opened fire on officers during the scuffle.

Prosecutors said French and his partner fell to the ground between the car and the pavement, both with their guns holstered. Blas was chasing Eric Morgan.

Blas returned and was fired upon by Emonte Morgan, prosecutors said. He returned fire and shot Morgan.


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