Ella French was the first female Chicago police officer to be killed in the line of duty since 1988, and the first police officer to be killed in the line of duty since Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot took office in 2019, according to reports.
French, 29, was a Chicago police officer for four years and was a member of the department’s Community Safety Team. Before that, she served as a corrections officer for the Cook County Sheriff’s office, according to NBC 5 Chicago.
Chicago Police Department First Deputy Superintendent Eric Carter described French as “very young on the job, but incredibly enthusiastic to do the work.”
French’s brother, Andrew French, said she was always a person of integrity and a humanitarian who wanted to help people.
“She’s always done the right thing even when nobody’s looking. She’s always believed in people and believed in doing the right thing. … She’s always believed in taking care of people that can’t take care of themselves,” he told the Chicago Tribune.
“She was one of the officers on the force that thought they needed reform,” French said of his sister. “She was the epitome of a good Samaritan.”
He said his sister and his mother were best friends and loved to travel together, taking three or four trips together per year.
“She was there for my mom. She was reliable. … She’s my sister, she’s my little sister. And as much as I was there for her when we were growing up, she was there for me. And I was proud of her, I’m still proud of her. Like this is — God took the wrong kid,” he told the Tribune.
Fellow Officer Kenneth Griffin told NBC 5 in a phone interview that he and French had started their jobs just a few weeks apart and had spent the following years checking on each other. He told NBC 5:
In 2019, I was actually stabbed on the job and she was one of the first people to call me to make sure I was OK. So, that was in May 2019. Fast forward now, just seeing this happened to her and I can’t pick up the phone to call to make sure she is OK, that’s one of the most hurtful feelings in the world.
He said he has not slept since he heard the news. He told the station:
I’ve been crying for two days straight now. And I’ll probably cry again after this call. And I’ll cry tonight. But tomorrow I’m going to go out here and I’m going to go to work and continue to show love to my community and make sure my community stays safe. That’s what she would want. She literally became a police officer to do those things. So, the best way to honor her is to do that.
French graduated from Community High School District 99 in January of 2009. Although there were claims that she had recently returned from maternity leave and had a child, the Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said that was not accurate.
French and her partner were shot after they conducted a traffic stop on Saturday evening just after 9:00 p.m.,near West 63rd Street and South Bell Avenue. There were three people inside the vehicle.
Someone in the vehicle opened fire on the officers, shooting French in the head and critically wounding her partner, who suffered three bullet wounds — one exited an eye, another lodged in the back of his head, and one struck his shoulder, according to ABC 7 Chicago. French or her partner returned fire, injuring one of the suspects.
French’s partner is in the intensive care unit, fighting for his life, according to NBC5. He is 39-years-old, married, with a young son. He has been on the job since August 2014.
Brown said,”I’m asking Chicago to wrap their arms around our police officers today and encourage them to continue their great work in protecting us all.”
At least 72 people were shot, 11 of them fatally, over the weekend in Chicago, Breitbart News reported on Sunday.