Chicago mayor defends police official’s decision to skip ritual at slain cop’s send-off

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Chicago mayor defends police official's decision to skip ritual at slain cop's send-off

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot expressed her support for a police official who ignored a “sacred” ritual by skipping the playing of bagpipes during the final send-off for slain Officer Ella French – saying the event was sped up to avoid delaying the grieving family, according to a report.

“I support what he did,” Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times, referring to First Deputy Police Superintendent Eric Carter.

“There was no official honor guard that night. There was, let me choose my words carefully, [a] well-meaning but not well-organized group that wanted to hijack the procession, which would have meant that the family would have been delayed exponentially in getting to the morgue,” the mayor said.

“Given the new restrictions that the new coroner has put in place, that wouldn’t have been fair to them. … So, a call was made under those circumstances to focus on the family,” she said.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she supports a police official who ignored a “sacred” ritual by skipping the playing of bagpipes during the final send-off for slain Officer Ella French.
Anthony Vazquez/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

“Eric Carter made the right call. I support what he did. And I’m horrified that, in this moment, people are trying to savage him for whatever agenda or purpose,” Lightfoot added.

Ella French
Officer Ella French
Twitter

The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said this week that rules for processions haven’t changed since the coronavirus pandemic began.

“First responders have always gathered in the office parking lot and dock to pay respects to fallen police officers and firefighters. … At no time did personnel from the Medical Examiner’s Office try to impede officers or bagpipers,” the office told the paper.

Carter enraged cops who gathered Saturday night to bid farewell to the late officer, the Sun-Times has reported.

“We don’t have 20 minutes for this s–t,” said Carter, who demanded that the ambulance bearing her body be taken directly to the medical examiner’s office without waiting for the Emerald Society’s tradition, according to the paper.

“We’re not waiting on the bagpipes. Go ahead and get the vehicle inside. Take it all the way inside. Do not stop,” Carter is heard saying in a recording.

Former Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has called the bagpipes ritual for fallen officers “sacred” — and said it was “inexcusable” for Carter to skip it.

A Chicago police officers leave a card at a memorial for slain officer Ella French at 63rd and Bell, Monday, Aug. 9, 2021, in Chicago.
A Chicago police officer leaves a card at a memorial for slain officer Ella French at 63rd and Bell on Aug. 9, 2021, in Chicago.
Tyler LaRiviere/Chicago Sun-Times via AP

French, 29, was fatally shot and her partner critically injured after they pulled a car over on the city’s South Side on Saturday.

When Lightfoot visited a hospital where the injured officer was taken, rank-and-file cops who were standing vigil turned their backs on her.

Emonte Morgan, 21, and his 22-year-old brother Eric, both convicted felons, have been charged in the brazen attack.

Chicago police officers salute as the ambulance carrying the body of a fellow officer arrives at the Cook County Medical Examiner in the early morning hours of Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021 in Chicago.
Chicago police officers salute as the ambulance carrying the body of a fellow officer arrives at the Cook County Medical Examiner in the early morning hours of Aug. 8, 2021, in Chicago.
Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune via AP

Emonte, who confessed to the cold-blooded slaying, was charged with first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon.

His brother was facing weapons and obstruction charges, prosecutors said.

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