Chicago’s police oversight agency has come under fire for failing to redact the name of slain officer Ella French in its report recommending that she be among the cops suspended in connection to a botched raid in 2019.
French, 29, was fatally shot in August after she and her partner pulled over a car in the city’s West Englewood section and one of three passengers inside started firing.
Emonte Morgan, 21, was later charged with first-degree murder in French’s slaying, while his brother, Eric Morgan, 22, was charged with unlawful use of a weapon and obstruction of justice.
In the 2019 incident, police using a warrant with the wrong information burst into the home of Anjanette Young, 50, and arrested her while she was naked.
The licensed social worker had just wrapped up her hospital shift and was changing in her bedroom when cops burst through the door screaming, “Police search warrant!” But they were hunting for an armed felon who an informant wrongly claimed lived at Young’s address.
A newly released report about the botched raid shows that the Civilian Office of Police Accountability recommended a three-day suspension for French, who was among the officers who raided Young’s apartment, according to Fox 32 Chicago.
“Officer French failed to timely activate her body-worn camera and failed to document the detention and search of the male and his vehicle in an Investigatory ‘Stop Report,’” the agency concluded, WGN-TV reported. “Accordingly, COPA recommends a 3-day suspension.”
It added: “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.”
But the report did not mention French’s later line-of-duty death – incurring the wrath of her fellow officers.
“This is the latest example of why that agency has zero credibility in the eyes of every CPD officer,” police union President John Catanzara told WGN. “We demand an apology immediately for the intentional harm caused to Ella’s family, friends and co-workers.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot called COPA’s report, which was prepared before French was shot and killed, “the height of tone deafness,” CBS Chicago reported.
“I am disappointed, and I think they could have taken different actions. It just doesn’t make sense that COPA made this decision,” she said.
Police Superintendent David Brown called French a “hero.”
“Her name and bravery should not be diminished in any way. Failing to acknowledge her death in the line of duty and redact her name from the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s report is unnecessarily insensitive,” Brown said in a statement, according to the news outlet.
“We will remember Officer French by her kindness and dedication to the people of Chicago. We will forever remember and honor the legacy of service and courage she left behind,” he added.
French’s brother, Andrew French, said: “This is disrespectful to her name, disrespectful on so many levels.”
He added: “Being reminded about how much (Young) loved my sister and respected my sister though that – honestly, that meant more to me than anything. You can’t suspend somebody who isn’t here.”
Young, who is suing the city over the raid, has said after French was killed that the officer was the only one who showed her “dignity or respect” the night of the botched incident.
In a statement, COP said: “COPA’s Summary Report and investigation into the raid on Ms. Anjanette Young’s residence by members of the Chicago Police Department was completed on April 27, 2021.
“Per ordinance (Municipal Code of Chicago 2-78-145), COPA must make reports open to public inspection. COPA can only redact information to the extent it is exempted from disclosure by the freedom of information act or any other applicable law. COPA released the report, previously completed April 27, 2021, as required by ordinance.
“Following the review and concurrence by the Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department, as well as serving of administrative charges, we carefully considered the release of the report and its impact on Ms. Anjanette Young and Ella French’s family.
“We honor the service Officer French gave to our city and mourn her death and also hope the release of the report brings further closure to Ms. Anjanette Young,” it added.