Police oversight debate reemerges after Chicago officer fatally shot

Chicago Crime

CHICAGO — Fallout from the fatal shooting of a Chicago police officer Saturday night on the city’s Southwest Side has stirred emotions of anger and finger-pointing among law enforcement and city officials.

As soon as word spread that two Chicago police officers had been shot, one fatally, people lashed out. Chicago police officer Ella French was shot and killed during a traffic stop on the city’s Southwest Side Saturday night.

Some fury was directed at Mayor Lori Lightfoot and pro-police reform council members, who are perceived as handcuffing the police. 

Alderman Matt O’Shea (19th Ward) says officer morale is at an all-time low. According to O’Shea, police tell him they do not feel supported.

“For the past year and a half — longer — law enforcement has been under siege, underappreciated and felt that communities don’t have their back. That elected officials don’t have their back,” O’Shea said. “We got to get this under control. We gotta partner with our law enforcement. We got to support our police.”

Appearing on Fox News, the head of Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, John Catanzara, ratcheted up the rhetoric.

“This city is less safe because Ella French was murdered by a violent individual that is absolutely been encouraged to do violent things by the people who run this city and state,” Catanzara said.

Visiting the hospital Saturday night, grieving CPD officers reportedly gave Mayor Lightfoot the cold shoulder, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. When the mayor tried to talk to the wounded officer’s father, he reportedly exploded.

“The officer’s father gave her a piece of his mind and the officers up there all turned their back on the mayor and rightfully so,” Catanzara said. “It was the exclamation point to the sentiment that was out there on the street level.”

“As I’ve said, they’ve been under siege and here they are at the hospital racing and hoping and praying that their colleague is gonna be OK, if in fact, that happened, that’s where we’re at,” O’Shea said of the reported cold shoulder given Mayor Lightfoot. “They feel that nobody cares.”

Yesterday, the mayor expressed unwavering support for the city police department.

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“The police are not our enemies,” Lightfoot said. “They’re human just as we are.”

Cesar Rodriguez, press secretary to Lightfoot, said, “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.”

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