Community remembers slain Chicago police officer Ella French

On August 7, 2021, Chicago police officer Ella French was shot and killed in the line of duty during a traffic stop. A year later, fellow officers, friends and family gathered on a rainy afternoon to remember her and honor her life.

A picture of French smiled brightly at those assembled at the Gold Star Families Memorial Fountain.

“On days like today, when it’s easy to get lost in sadness, and perhaps anger, we are called to remember joy and gratitude,” Police Superintendent David Brown said. “I think that’s what Ella would have wanted. She did what she loved to do and helped make people’s lives better while she was doing it. This is how we remember Ella.

French, who was 29 when she was killed, had worked for the Chicago Police Department since April 2018. She was part of a community safety team tasked with patrolling dangerous neighborhoods.

The fatal shooting occurred near West 63rd Street and South Bell Avenue. French and two other officers, including Officer Carlos Yanez Jr., were conducting a traffic stop on three people in a vehicle when one of them fired at the officers, Police First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter said on day after the shooting. At least one of the officers returned fire, Carter said. One of the suspects was shot alongside Yanez and French.

Emonte Morgan has been charged with first degree murder, two counts of attempted murder of a peace officer and other counts. His brother, Eric Morgan, was charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, as well as one count of obstruction of justice. The third person in the SUV has not been charged.

At Sunday’s memorial, attendees hugged. Some clung tightly to the fabrics. Some wore pins with French’s face on them. A woman carried flowers. The weather – steady, incessant rain – echoed the mood.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot was also present. French was the first Chicago police officer to be shot while on duty since Lightfoot became mayor in 2019.

Afternoon briefing

Afternoon briefing

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“Officer French was truly the epitome of what it means to be called to serve, to be called to sacrifice,” Lightfoot said. “As anyone who knew Officer French would tell you, she was just perfect for the role. Her kind, loving and caring nature, coupled with her brilliant mind, made her a joy to be around and work with.

“Today we thank Agent French for choosing to help protect our city. We also thank and always remember his mother, Elizabeth, a paragon of strength and resilience,” Lightfoot added.

French’s mother sat in the front row. Earlier today, in a ceremony at police headquarters, she dedicated her daughter’s Chicago police star, placing her in the superintendent’s star case

During the afternoon ceremony, other speakers also addressed Elizabeth French in their remarks.

“Miss French, I can’t imagine the pain and grief you are going through today, every minute of your day without your beautiful Ella,” said Maria Marmolejo, CPD President of Gold Star Families. “I’m a mother myself, and I get it: it just wasn’t the natural progression of how things should be – losing a child.”

“I’m here to tell you that today and always, your daughter Ella French is a star among the stars, and she will always shine for the woman she was, the life she lived, and the sacrifice she lived. she did to protect the city of Chicago,” Marmolejo said. “Among all those names carved in stone behind us, police officer Ella French will forever be respected, honored, and most importantly, never forgotten.”

Down a pebble path and in front of a statue of a man in a wheelchair surrounded by his family – honoring ‘catastrophically injured’ officers – there is a circular concrete wall with the names of officers who died in the drill of their functions engraved in black granite. The most recent inscription reads “Ella Grace French”.

About Michael C. Lovelace

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