Chicago Remembers Fallen Officer: ‘A Small Part of Every One of Us Died When We Lost Ella’

Chicago police Officer Ella French (@TomAhernCPD / Twitter)Chicago police Officer Ella French (@TomAhernCPD / Twitter)

(CNN) — A crowd of Chicago residents gathered Wednesday evening to remember of Ella French, a Chicago police officer fatally shot during a traffic stop.

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“Officer French died in service to our great city,” said Philip Cline, the executive director at Chicago Police Memorial Foundation. “A small part of every one of us died when we lost Ella, not just members of the police department, but every Chicagoan.”

French, who had served more than three years on the department, and two other officers assigned to the department’s Community Safety Team, were conducting a traffic stop on a vehicle with three occupants around 9 p.m. Saturday when they were fired upon, Chicago police Superintendent David Brown said at a news conference Sunday.

The officers returned fire, and two officers were struck in the exchange, Brown said. One of the assailants was also hit and taken to a local hospital, he said.

French, 29, died at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where her partner is in critical condition and “fighting for his life,” Brown said.

“We did not lose just an exceptional police officer; we lost a remarkable person. One with courage and compassion, one who made a positive difference every day of her life,” Cline said.

That compassion was noted by the law office representing Anjanette Young, the 2019 victim of a botched raid.

French was not on the raid team but responded to the scene as Young stood naked and handcuffed in her living room as officers searched her residence. French helped her get to privacy in her bedroom to get dressed, the statement said.

“Officer French was the only officer who showed Ms. Young any dignity or respect on the night of the raid,” the statement added.

Outrage in the case, progress for the officer

The other officer injured in the shooting is making incremental progress, according to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.

As of Wednesday afternoon, “he is making small but positive progress,” Lightfoot said. “Given what we feared on Saturday night, he is getting great care, he’s surrounded by a family that’s loving and praying on him, and a lot of colleagues who are pulling for his recovery, and he is making some incremental progress.”

Brothers Emonte and Eric Morgan were each denied bail in separate hearings for their alleged roles in the death of French, and the wounding of the other officer. Neither was asked to enter a plea.

Prosecutors described a traffic stop that went wrong, saying one brother initially cooperated but ran from the scene and that the other shot the officers.

According to the state’s attorneys prosecuting the cases, Eric Morgan fled the scene but returned, taking the gun and attempting to get rid of it. He was held by civilians until police could arrest him, a prosecutor said.

Separately, Jamel Danzy, 29, was charged with federal firearms violations after he allegedly conducted a straw purchase to obtain the semi-automatic handgun used to shoot French.

In a straw purchase, an individual purchases a gun and does not disclose the intent to resell or give it to another individual.

Danzy appeared in federal court on Wednesday and was released on a $4,500 appearance bond, according to an audio transmission of the hearing which was made available to the media.

Brown said the judge’s decision to release the man accused of supplying the gun was “an outrage.”

“When I heard this afternoon that a federal judge had released the man who illegally purchased and then supplied the gun used to murder Officer Ella French, I could not believe it,” Brown said in a statement Wednesday night.

“This decision sets a dangerous precedent that straw purchasers like Danzy are not a danger to society, despite the fact that his alleged actions directly led to the murder of a Chicago Police Officer and left another in critical condition,” Brown said.

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