Not guilty! Woman who stole squad car and backed over a Chicago cop was insane, judge rules

CHICAGO — The woman who ran over a Chicago police officer with his own squad car after he stopped to help her on the West Side was found not guilty by a Cook County judge yesterday.

Judge Tyria Walton said Whitley Temple, 35, was not guilty of attempted murder at all and was not guilty of four other charges, including carjacking, by reason of insanity, according to court records. Walton conducted a bench trial that dragged on for a month due to repeated continuances. The actual trial, though, was quite short, according to courtroom spectators.

Temple must follow a treatment plan as a result of the judge’s finding.

According to prosecutors, Chicago Police Officer Ed Poppish was responding to shots fired in June 2022 when he saw Temple lying half-naked in the street in the 4400 block of West Jackson and stopped to help her. As Poppish radioed for an ambulance, Temple got up from the pavement, started saying his name repeatedly, and walked around him to get into the squad car’s driver’s seat, according to officials.

Poppish tried to stop her, but she allegedly told him, “Let me go. This has nothing to do with you.”

Two videos showing what happened next quickly went viral. One came from a city surveillance camera. And this one, which we’ve shortened slightly to avoid showing Temple’s partially nude body, was recorded by a witness.

As the squad car reversed, it dragged Poppish into another vehicle, and he struck his head. A prosecutor who first filed the charges against Temple said it was “a miracle” that he survived. Poppish received six stitches for a head injury and suffered a concussion.

Prosecutors said shortly after the incident that Temple drove the squad car to a gas station, got out while it was still rolling, went into the station, came back out, and drove away with the patrol car again.

Then, she drove onto the inbound Eisenhower Expressway, weaving in and out of traffic at 97 MPH, and was still going 76 MPH when she exited at Sacramento Boulevard and started running red lights on surface streets, prosecutors alleged. She struck five occupied cars, got out, and ran down the block until cops arrested her.

Prosecutors initially claimed that the gunfire Poppish was responding to was caused by Temple shooting at a bystander, who was not injured.

While the case was pending, Temple landed a job as a lead accountant at the city’s Department of Family and Support Services. She lost the job earlier this year after it was publicly revealed that the city had hired someone to be an accountant while they were awaiting trial for allegedly trying to kill a Chicago police officer.

But the attempted murder charge hit rough waters early on. Judge Barbara Dawkins set Temple’s bail at $2 million shortly after the incident. During that hearing, Dawkins said she did not think the state had demonstrated that Temple intended to kill Poppish.

Given Dawkins’ findings regarding the attempted murder charge, Temple’s attorneys filed an appeal, calling the $2 million bail excessive. An appellate court agreed and remanded the case to the trial court for a bond reduction. She went home on an ankle monitor after a relative posted her $7,500 bail deposit. The ankle monitor was removed last year.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is