Unfathomable: Civilian review board recommends suspension for murdered Chicago Officer Ella French (op-ed)

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CHICAGO, IL – Sometimes there are no words to express one’s outrage, and sometimes there are not enough words. Today, there are not enough.

In what can only be described as the unfathomable depth of human depravity, the members of the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) recommended a three-day suspension for Officer Ella French, a suspension the officer can never serve.

Chicago Police Officer Ella French was murdered in the line of duty on August 7 while serving to protect the city she loved. The 29-year-old police officer was killed and another officer was seriously wounded in an exchange of gunfire during a traffic stop.

The ludicrous COPA ruling resulted from an incident which occurred in 2019 when officers conducted a raid on the wrong home. Anjanette Young sued the city after she was left naked and handcuffed during the botched police raid.

Despite knowing Officer French arrived only after the raid and had been praised for her actions protecting Young, the COPA included French among the officers it recommended for suspension for their role in the raid.

The ruling is sadistically baffling not only because of the heroic sacrifice Officer French ultimately made for the city, but for her heroic actions before her death.

To know Officer French, one only needs to read the words released by Young’s spokesman after the officer’s death, something COPA apparently did not care to do:

“Officer French assisted Ms. Young and allowed her to get dressed, in the privacy of her bedroom. Officer French was the only officer who showed Ms. Young any dignity or respect on the night of the raid.

“Ms. Young is praying for Officer French’s family and offers her sincerest condolences to them and all of Officer French’s friends and colleagues.”

Despite being a new officer on probation at the time of the raid, Officer French stood out even then as a professional and caring officer who took steps to protect the suspect under her watch.

However, COPA ignored the comments praising the officer and pinpointed a minor contact Officer French had with a man outside Young’s home upon arriving at the scene.

COPA members must have dug through the piles of good service and behavior of this young officer in a desperate search for that one thing they could use against her.

Officer French and other officers stopped and searched a man who had been parked behind Young’s home, then went inside when they learned he was not involved in the investigation.

During the encounter, COPA said Officer French failed to activate her body-worn camera in a timely manner, and she did not properly submit an investigatory stop report.

Keep in mind that Officer French was a probationary officer at the time and still considered under training.

There are other examples of the heroism of the fallen officer which easily could have excused the minor infractions focused on by COPA. For example, one month before the officer’s murder, she was credited with saving the life of a baby caught in a mass shooting.

On Thursday, July 1, a one-month-old child was among seven people wounded in a mass shooting in Englewood. Officer French was one of the officers who responded to the shooting and rushed to the baby’s aid.

Officer French assisted with treating and transporting the injured infant to Comer Children’s Hospital, and local news cameras captured her aiding the young victim.

After news of Officer’s French’s murder spread, the infant’s mother called her brother, Charles McKenzie, telling him:

“That’s the officer who transported me and your niece to the hospital.”

McKenziew said Officer French had comforted his sister as they rushed her baby to the hospital:

“She was like, ‘Everything’s going to be OK. We got this together. Don’t panic,’ because [my sister] was panicking. So, she was like, ‘Hey, everything’s going to be OK, I got you. We’re here together. I’m not going to leave you guys.

“She cares a lot about the community, and she loved the people inside the community. Knowing officers like that…It’s hard to reach officers like that in this community. We really don’t have too many officers out here doing the work…”

The Chicago Police Department confirmed that French was the officer who drove the baby to receive life-saving treatment.  

McKenziew added:

“My condolences go out to her family. We’ll never get a chance to thank her. Thank God for her for coming to the rescue of my little niece. We don’t know where we’d be right now.”

Despite all of this, COPA decided rather than thank this officer, they should suspend her for forgetting to activate a body camera fast enough.

Ella French gave everything she had to the city. She gave her time, her training, and her sweat to the streets she patrolled. In the end, she gave her very life for the people of Chicago. This was not enough for COPA.

COPA members claimed in the report that it took Officer French’s service into account:

“COPA has considered Officer French’s complimentary history, her lack of prior disciplinary history, and her over 3 years of service to the Department, and her status as PPO at the time of the incident in mitigation.”

The fact that COPA ignored or chose to ignore the ultimate sacrifice made by this hero is not sitting well with others in the law enforcement community. Many see this slight as an example of the unconscionable, no-win environment police are facing today.

Chicago FOP police union President John Catanzara demanded an apology from COPA members for the insanity of the ruling:

“This is the latest example of why that agency has zero credibility in the eyes of every CPD officer. We demand an apology immediately for the intentional harm caused to Ella’s family, friends and co-workers.”

Yet, despite all of this. If you go outside today and drive around your city or town, you will see other heroic men and women willing to put it all on the line for you.

These brave souls do not do this for praise or admiration. They do it because it needs to be done.

Some of these heroes in blue will not make it home to their families tonight, and all of them know it could happen. When tragedy does strike, these amazing people should be celebrated and remembered.

Unfortunately, on this day… a fallen hero was punished in Chicago. 

There are not enough words.

 

Editor note: In 2020, we saw a nationwide push to “defund the police”.  While we all stood here shaking our heads wondering if these people were serious… they cut billions of dollars in funding for police officers.  And as a result, crime has skyrocketed – all while the same politicians who said “you don’t need guns, the government will protect you” continued their attacks on both our police officers and our Second Amendment rights.

And that’s exactly why we’re launching this national crowdfunding campaign as part of our efforts to help “re-fund the police”.

For those looking for a quick link to get in the fight and support the cause, click here.

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Two brothers and third suspect captured in murder of Chicago police officer, shooting of second cop

August 10, 2021

 

CHICAGO, IL – A third suspect has been taken into custody in connection with the fatal shooting of one Chicago Police officer and non-fatal shooting of another earlier in August, with officials identifying the officer that was killed while conducting a traffic stop.

Two suspects have been charged, and a third is not charged due to lacking evidence, regarding the fatal shooting of 29-year-old Chicago Police Officer Ella French and the non-fatal shooting of her partner that occurred on August 7th.

Officials have confirmed that 21-year-old Emonte Morgan has been charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

The second suspect charged in the incident was identified as 22-year-old Eric Morgan, who was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and obstruction of justice.

Both Emonte and Eric Morgan, who are brothers, are slated to appear in court on August 10th for their respective bail hearings.

One of the two Morgan brothers were shot during the incident and was last stated as being stable after being transported to the Christ Hospital.

According to officials, the original traffic stop that preceded the shooting was merely over expired plates on the suspect’s vehicle.

The third suspect, who was only identified as a female passenger inside of the vehicle with the two suspects during the incident on August 7th, has not been charged due to officials citing lacking evidence of criminal culpability in the shooting of the officers.  

Chicago police Supt. David Brown noted that investigators are focused on the Morgan brothers for Officer French’s killing and the injury of her partner, saying:

“There’s one reason that this happened. One reason. These two offenders killed Ella French and tried to kill [the second and third officer] there. That’s the only person we’re pointing the finger at today. I won’t entertain finger-pointing at anyone or anything else. They need to be fully held accountable for her murder.”

However, federal prosecutors have charged another individual who allegedly purchased the weapon that was used during the incident that killed Officer French and wounded her partner.

On August 9th, federal prosecutors charged 29-year-old Jamel Danzy for reportedly buying the gun used during the August 7th incident in Hammond, Indiana, in March and then later providing that weapon to an individual in Illinois that Danzy knew could not buy or possess a firearm.

The Chicago’s U.S. attorney’s office confirmed that the weapon connected to Danzy was recovered from the scene where Officer French was killed, and her partner was severely injured.

Danzy appeared in federal court on August 9th under charges of conspiracy to violate federal firearm laws, knowingly transferring a firearm to an out-of-state resident and knowingly disposing of a firearm to a convicted felon.

While Danzy may not have been the trigger-man, he could be facing up to five years in federal prison for the charges he’s facing.

U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois, John R. Lausch, Jr., stated the following about the case against Danzy:

“Straw purchasers and firearm traffickers enable violence with deadly consequences. Fighting violent crime is a top priority in our office, and we are committed to holding accountable those who engage in illicit firearm transactions.”

Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Field Division of the ATF, Kristen de Tineo, made the following statement regarding the matter:

“Tragedies like this happen when people straw purchase firearms on behalf of those who are prohibited from purchasing and possessing firearms themselves. ATF remains committed to working with our law enforcement partners and the U.S. Attorney’s Office to investigate these firearms trafficking schemes and prosecute those responsible.”

 

 

 

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