The Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s review of a 2019 botched police raid on the wrong home concluded that a number of Chicago police officers should face consequences, to include a three-day suspension levied — posthumously? — to an officer who was later killed in the line of duty.
The grieving family of Officer Ella French, who was killed in August 2021 during a traffic stop on the city’s Southwest Side when the occupants inside the vehicle opened fire, are understandably upset.
“This is disgraceful,” the late officer’s brother, Andrew French, said, according to WGN9. “This is disrespectful to her name, disrespectful on so many levels.”
“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 investigatory report concluded, according to the station. “Accordingly, COPA recommends a 3-day suspension.”
“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,” the report added.
In the ultimate FU to Policing (and common decency), the Chicago Civilian Office of Police Accountability posthumously suspended Officer Ella French who was killed in the line of duty for 3 days for an event from when she was on probation, February of 2019. pic.twitter.com/8IJYuCy0mI
— Rob O’Donnell (@odonnell_r) November 11, 2021
The report did not acknowledge that French later died while on duty, and COPA explained that the report was finalized in April when the officer was alive and that it was not in accordance with established procedure to mention her death because it would have required the report to be redone entirely, WGN9 reported.
A COPA spokesperson called it “an unfortunate situation.”
The incident in question involved a raid on the wrong house in February 2019. Victim Anjanette Young, who was reportedly forced to stand naked for some time, said afterward through a spokesperson that Officer French was the only officer to “show her dignity or respect” during the raid, according to the independent station.
Police union President John Catanzara was outraged over the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s actions.
“This is the latest example of why that agency has zero credibility in the eyes of every CPD officer,” Catanzara told WGN. “We demand an apology immediately for the intentional harm caused to Ella’s family, friends and co-workers.”
“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,” the agency said in a released statement. “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,” the statement continued. “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.”
Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter:
Shame on you COPA! What exactly is she suspended from now? She lost her life defending this city, and she is honored this way. Cantazara is 100% correct. You owe her mother an enormous apology!
— Karla Schwarze (@KarlaSchwarze) November 12, 2021
I’m so disgusted with COPA when I see this. It’s beyond sickening.
— Mike 🇺🇸 (@StrtKing) November 11, 2021
COPA has been an absolute failure to the well-being of the men and women of the Dept, who have been constantly overworked and overwhelmed with oversight. Officers are questioned by a group who have never been on a call to actually experience it in real-time.
— PRPA (@PRPAChicago) November 12, 2021
Yet even the woman praised Ofc French. And how low can they go as this just reaches new levels of how they have such a lack of support for officers including ones who made the ultimate sacrifice
— Tim Baker (@Schefffan1) November 12, 2021
Hey @ChicagoCOPA, imagine if you had just apologized
— Tim Sullivan (@TLSullivan) November 12, 2021
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