Who was Ella French? Chicago cop, 29, killed in traffic stop was 'epitome of a good Samaritan'
Ella French, 29, has been identified as the Chicago Police Department (CPD) officer that was killed during a violent traffic stop in Chicago on August 7. French was killed while another unnamed officer was seriously injured after three suspects opened fire on the duo, leading to a gun battle in which one of the suspects was injured. French is reportedly the first CPD officer to be killed in the line of duty since Lori Lightfoot took over as Mayor in 2019.
As Democrats and Republicans weigh on on police reform all over the country, many officers are giving their lives in the line of duty. In mid-July, we reported on the death of Holly Springs Police Officer Joe Burson, who was also killed during a traffic stop. Earlier in April, veteran NYPD officer Anastasios Tsakos was killed by a drunk driver. We also reported on the tragic death of Denver cop Gordon Beesley, who was "targeted" for wearing his uniform.
So far, 194 cops have died in the line of duty in 2021. That's around half of the 369 that lost their lives in 2020, despite the pandemic and lockdown restrictions. French was first identified by the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police before CPD confirmed her identity in a press conference on August 8 morning. Supt. David Brown, who held the conference declined to go into many details but did confirm the third suspect was in custody. Brown said CPD “preliminarily” believes the male passenger who was hospitalized was the one who fired on officers. The suspect who police believe fired the gun has “a criminal background for robbery,” Brown said, but added none of the offenders has an extensive criminal background.
Who was Ella French?
The 29-year-old joined the CPD in April 2018 and was working on the Community Safety Team. Her brother Andrew, an Iraqi war veteran described French as "a person of integrity" who "always believed in people and believed in doing the right thing." Andrew told The Chicago Tribune, "She was a humanitarian. She believed in human rights. She was one of the officers on the force that thought they needed reform." According to him, she loved to travel and did so frequently with their mother. They went on trips as frequently as 3-4 times a year, he revealed.
“Because she’s seen the front line, just like I have. She’s always been a very caring person ... When I was in Iraq, me and her, we talked. And she has some attributes that you don’t find in this world anymore.” He also called her "the epitome of a good Samaritan."
It is believed French lived in the Galewood neighborhood until recently. A person who used to live nearby described her as a courteous and "very respectful" neighbor who usually kept to herself. The neighbor would often see French playing with her dog in front of their apartment building. Records indicate she recently moved to the Parkview neighborhood, where she purchased a home.
The Sun reported French had "just returned to work following maternity leave after giving birth to a baby daughter." We could not confirm this fact, or find out more about her. French doesn't appear to have a public Facebook, LinkedIn, or Instagram profile. Brown too refused to provide further details, at the request of French's mother. French's partner, who was also shot at during the stop is currently in critical condition. The police did not identify the officer, but said he was a six-year veteran who was "fighting for his life".
"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," Brown said. After Brown, the Mayor spoke at the conference and confirmed all city buildings will have flags lowered to half-staff. She also slammed the constant fighting over police reform. "Stop. Just, stop. This constant strife is not what we need in this moment," Lightfoot said. She added, "They (the police) are human, just as we are. Flawed, just as we are. ... But also risking their lives every day for our safety and security." It is believed French and her partner wore body cameras, but Brown said the footage cannot yet be made public. An investigation into the incident is currently underway, including why the traffic stop was made.