A federal judge released the man who allegedly supplied the gun used by two brothers to shoot and kill Chicago Police Officer Ella French during a traffic stop after he posted a $4,500 bond.
Despite being accused of making a “straw purchase” for a firearm, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffrey Gilbert ordered Jamel Danzy, 29, to be released last week on Wednesday after he met his bond payment. Danzy does not have a criminal record but was charged with conspiracy to violate federal firearm laws by purchasing a gun in a different state for someone who could not get their own due to a felony conviction.
Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown quickly condemned the decision and noted that he believed the judge made the wrong decision.
“To say that I am extremely disappointed in U.S. Magistrate Judge Jeffery Gilbert’s decision to release Jamel Danzy on an unsecured bond today is an understatement,” Brown said. “It is an outrage.”
Brown said Gilbert’s decision says “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 criticized Gilbert for doing 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.”
Gilbert is a Northwestern University School of Law graduate and adjunct professor who began his career in the 1980s by clerking for another district judge in Illinois. After two years of that, he started practicing law at Sachnoff & Weaver, Ltd. which eventually merged with international law firm Reed Smith LLP in 2007. A few years later, Gilbert was sworn in as a magistrate judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in 2010.
For the last 11 years, Gilbert has reviewed and ruled on cases involving cops and criminals who have tried to hurt them. Earlier this year, Gilbert ordered a man who shot at a police officer during a carjacking to stay in federal custody. The judge, however, appeared to have no problems releasing Danzy who he ordered to avoid contact with Eric Morgan, one of the brothers involved in the killing and a man who he allegedly was in a relationship with for more than three years, despite his role in allegedly providing the gun and the car used during the incident.
“No contact with this person, Mr. Danzy, direct or indirect,” Gilbert said. “(Not) by person, by telephone, by letter, by email, by social media, by hand signals, by smoke signals, by carrier pigeon, no contact at all with that person under these conditions.”