Attorney says woman who stole squad car, dragged officer on West Side, had been sexually assaulted

“Ms. Temple is a victim as well,” defense attorney Javaron Buckley said Wednesday.

SHARE Attorney says woman who stole squad car, dragged officer on West Side, had been sexually assaulted

A woman who commandeered a police SUV earlier this week in West Garfield Park — dragging a Chicago police officer who tried to stop her — has been charged with attempted murder and a host of other charges, Cook County prosecutors said Wednesday.

But a private defense attorney described Whitley Temple, 34, as a hardworking mother whose actions were completely out of character, and said he had “reason to believe” she was sexually assaulted prior to the incident.

The officer who was hurt was responding Monday morning to a call of shots fired when a dispatcher broadcast that Temple was “naked, intoxicated and threatening to hit people” at Kostner Avenue and Jackson Boulevard, according to an arrest report.

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After finding Temple laying in the street and partially clothed, the officer got out of his marked SUV to check on her and called for an ambulance, Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy said.

Temple later jumped into the officer’s SUV as he tried to stop her, but she gunned the car in reverse, dragging the officer with the car and causing him to hit his head on a parked vehicle, Murphy said.

The officer suffered a gash on his head that required six stitches, according to Murphy, who remarked that it was “a miracle” that the officer was alive.

The 47-year-old officer was released from the hospital the same day.

Temple, who was eventually taken into custody after a foot chase, was taken to Stroger Hospital. She remained hospitalized Wednesday and wasn’t able to attend the hearing.

Defense attorney Javaron Buckley said Temple was sexually assaulted shortly before the incident, which he said explained why she was partially clothed as well as her erratic behavior.

“Ms. Temple is a victim as well,” according to Buckley, who said Temple didn’t dispute prosecutors’ allegations.

Buckley didn’t provide specifics about the alleged assault, saying those allegations were “extremely serious” and he didn’t want to say them without verifying them.

Temple is a tax accountant who owns two businesses to support her 6-year-old daughter, the attorney said, and is actively involved in her community.

“Ms. Temple has absolutely no [criminal] background,” the attorney said, later adding that “there can be more than one victim in a case.”

Prosecutors filed a petition asking Judge Kelly McCarthy to hold Temple without bail, but the judge said she would wait to rule on it until Temple could appear for a hearing.

McCarthy agreed that something else appeared to be going on with the case, but said that setting Temple’s bail at $2 million cash was required to ensure the community’s safety until further hearings could be held.

In one video of the encounter that circulated on social media, a woman enters the squad car through an unlocked front door. The officer orders her out as he appears to try to pull her from the driver’s seat. She appears to shift the car into reverse, knocking the officer to the ground with the door and dragging him as she narrowly avoids colliding with another car.

Another video obtained by the Sun-Times shows the woman driving off with the door ajar while the officer, apparently bleeding from the head, was on the ground.

Temple drove the squad car to a gas station, where she struck a vehicle, briefly ran into the station and then took off again, driving the squad car more than 95 mph on the Eisenhower Expressway, Murphy said.

She allegedly weaved in and out of traffic until she got off at Sacramento Boulevard at a high rate of speed, striking several more vehicles as she continued to drive, before she crashed in the 2000 block of West Harrison Street and was arrested after a brief foot chase.

Radio traffic indicated she was admitted to Stroger Hospital for a psychological evaluation. Temple tested positive for benzodiazepine, a type of psychoactive medication, and cannabinoids, which can include marijuana or CBD, prosecutors said early toxicology reports showed.

Before stealing the car, multiple witnesses saw Temple run outside of her home naked and act “irrational,” Murphy said.

Those witnesses allegedly said they saw Temple take a gun from her bag and fire it at them before driving off in her own car. Surveillance cameras and other witnesses also told investigators that they saw Temple striking cars in her own vehicle, including an AT&T work truck, before she was seen putting on a pair of shorts, Murphy said.

Temple allegedly told an AT&T worker she had a gun, but no gun was seen in surveillance video from the area, Murphy said.

Temple, of West Garfield Park, was charged with felony counts of attempted first-degree murder, aggravated battery to a peace officer, resisting or obstructing a peace officer, vehicular hijacking and possession of a stolen law enforcement vehicle, police said. She also faces a misdemeanor for driving on a suspended license and a citation for having no insurance.

Her next hearing was scheduled for Tuesday.

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