Police officers in Chicago sent a clear message to the city’s mayor, Lori Lightfoot, after an officer was killed in the line of duty and another remains in critical condition.
Chicago Police Officer Ella French, 29, was shot and killed during a traffic stop Saturday night, while her partner fights for his life at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
As Lightfoot visited the hospital about midnight Saturday, about 30 officers turned their backs to her when she approached them on the 7th floor, the Chicago Sun-Times reported Monday morning. A source added that “it looked like it had been choreographed.”
The male officer’s father, who is a retired Chicago cop, also gave the mayor an earful when she tried to talk to him, sources told the Sun-Times.
The mayor’s press office provided a statement to Fox News, saying, “In a time of tragedy, emotions run high and that is to be expected.”
“The Mayor spoke to a range of officers that tragic night and sensed the overwhelming sentiment was about concern for their fallen colleagues,” the statement read.
“As the Mayor stated yesterday, now is not the time for divisive and toxic rhetoric or reporting. This is a time for us to come together as a city. We have a common enemy and it is the conditions that breed the violence and the manifestations of violence, namely illegal guns, and gangs. The Mayor is focused on healing the wounds and will reject any and all that try to use this moment to drive further divisions in our city.”
Chicago Police Department Supt. David Brown said Sunday that French, her partner and another officer were fired upon after approaching a vehicle with three occupants during a traffic stop in West Englewood on Saturday.
“According to police accounts, French and two other officers had just stopped a vehicle at 63rd Street and Bell Avenue when one of its three passengers began firing. Officers returned fire, injuring one of the passengers, while the two cops were shot.
All three suspects were apprehended, but their names have not been released. One member of the group had a 2019 robbery on his criminal record, which is “not extensive,” [Chicago Police Department Superintendent David Brown] told reporters.
“It seems that neither of the three offenders have extensive [criminal] background,” he said.”
Lightfoot declared Sunday a day of mourning and called for all flags to be flown at half-staff.
While the police turning their backs on the mayor was meant to be a signal that they hold her at least partially responsible for the lack of respect Chicago police officers receive, she was clearly frustrated by the rightful criticism of her treatment of them – to which she said, “just stop.”
“There are some who say we do not do enough for the police and that we are handcuffing them from doing their jobs. There are others who say we do too much for the police and that we never hold them accountable for what they do, particularly in Black and brown neighborhoods,” Lightfoot said.
“All of this, I say, stop. Just stop. This constant strife is not what we need in this moment. Of course, we have to continue the journey to achieve constitutional and accountable policing. That cannot be in debate at this point.”
Author: Wayne Ornoth