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(Photo by KAMIL KRZACZYNSKI/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:08 PM – Thursday, May 30, 2024

A judge accepted a defense team’s claims of “mental insanity” on Wednesday, clearing a woman accused of assaulting a Chicago police officer, stealing his squad car, and dragging him along with it while she was nude.

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Whitley Temple, 35, was found not guilty by reason of insanity on four counts, including two counts of aggravated battery to a police officer, vehicular hijacking, and possession of a stolen vehicle, by Cook County Judge Tyria Walton following a bench trial in April.

She also reportedly hit four other vehicles after taking off with the stolen police car.

Temple is free to go as she pleases now as a result of the ruling, but she needs to appear in court to meet with mental health professionals in order to discuss a treatment plan.

Temple’s defense team claimed at the bench trial that their client was “in a psychotic state” at the time of the incident in 2022, and contended that the case was a “textbook insanity case.” On Wednesday, the parties made their final arguments before the verdict was reached.

“On June 13, 2022, Chicago Police Officer Edward Poppish found Temple naked in the street in West Garfield Park, before she stole his squad car, ran him over and dragged him with the SUV, and sped off down the Kennedy Expressway at 90 mph, before crashing into four cars at Harrison Street and Damen Avenue in the Illinois Medical District on the Near West Side,” according to CBS News.

One of Temple’s lawyers claimed that during the incident, her client “was in a psychotic state” and had been worrying about her family for several days. According to the lawyer, Temple had a “paranoid idea” that someone was trying to kill the women in her family and that they were now pursuing her. She also falsely believed that she had been sexually assaulted by the police officer. 

Poppish, the 23-year police veteran whose vehicle was stolen, said that he was badly injured after being dragged, even suffering a concussion. He also needed many stitches for a large wound on his head, according to reports. 

Temple was hired this year as a lead accountant for the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services. However, it is not clear whether she still has her job or if she was fired.

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