Family upset after COPA recommends slain CPD officer Ella French receive suspension for botched raid

WGN Investigates

CHICAGO — The Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s review of the 2019 botched police raid on the wrong home – whose occupant was forced to stand naked for a time concluded half the officers involved should face consequences. 

The report is also notable for its apparent insensitivity in recommending a three day suspension for a Chicago police officer who was later killed in the line of duty.

Officer Ella French died after she and her partner were shot in August. The victim of the wrong house raid in February 2019, Anjanette Young, later said through a spokesperson Officer French was the only officer to “show her dignity or respect” during the raid. 

Despite the praise from Young and Officer French’s murder, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability’s newly released report found fault with French’s actions during the 2019 raid. 

“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,’” COPA’s investigatory report concluded.  “Accordingly, COPA recommends a 3-day suspension.” 

The report also noted: “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.” 

What the report did not acknowledge was Officer French’s later line of duty death, infuriating some of her fellow police officers. 

“This is the latest example of why that agency has zero credibility in the eyes of every CPD officer,” police union President John Catanzara told WGN Investigates.  “We demand an apology immediately for the intentional harm caused to Ella’s family, friends and co-workers.”

The Civilian Office of Police Accountability said Thursday that the report on the raid was finalized in April when Officer French was alive, and that making mention of her death would have required the report to be redone entirely, which is not in accordance with established procedures.

“This is disgraceful,” said brother Andrew French. “This is disrespectful to her name, disrespectful on so many levels.”

A COPA spokesperson called it “an unfortunate situation.”

A full statement from COPA reads:

“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.

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 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.

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.”

Police Supt. David Brown is recommending the firing of a sergeant involved in the wrongful raid while COPA says at least half the officers involved should face consequences ranging from suspension to termination.

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