Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown blasted a federal judge’s decision to release the man accused of illegally purchasing the gun used to kill Officer Ella French, saying that the decision “sets a dangerous precedent” and did a “disservice” to the officer’s memory.
Jamel Danzy, 29, was released on an unsecured bond after a hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffery Gilbert on Wednesday.
Danzy is accused of executing a “straw purchase” to buy the firearm earlier this year. He is accused of buying the weapon in Indiana, and allegedly did so for an individual not legally allowed to purchase a firearm due to a felony conviction.
A short time after the purchase, Danzy allegedly gave it to the man who allegedly shot and killed French and critically wounded her partner during a Saturday traffic stop in Chicago.
Get Chicago local news, weather forecasts, sports and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Chicago newsletters.
Brown said that he “could not believe” the decision, and didn’t mince words in criticizing the ruling to release Danzy on a $4,500 unsecured bond.
“It is an outrage,” Brown said. “This decision sets a dangerous precedent that straw purchasers like Danzy are not a danger to society, despite the fact that his alleged actions directly led to the murder of a Chicago police officer and left another in critical condition.”
Brown and other Chicago city officials have been lobbying for federal assistance in stemming the tide of illegal weapons from states like Indiana and Wisconsin, with the Biden administration pledging to provide “strike force” teams to help address those concerns.
The superintendent says that the judge’s ruling is a slap in the face to the Chicago Police Department as it mourns a fallen colleague.
“By allowing Mr. Danzy to walk free, the court has done a disservice to Officer French’s memory, to the entire Chicago Police Department, and to the thousands of men and women across the country who work around the clock, day in and day out, to stem the violence that is plaguing our communities,” he said.
The judge in the case ordered Danzy to be released under the condition that he will reappear in court or pay a $4,500 appearance bond. Danzy also agreed to provide a DNA sample, to be supervised by pretrial services, and to be “on extreme good behavior” following his release.
Danzy is also forbidden to have contact with the suspects in the fatal shooting.