'They wanted to hijack the procession': Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot slams cops who tried to give fallen Ella French, 29, traditional bagpipe send-off and denies forcing her way into hospital against family's wishes

 Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has blasted cops who tried to give fallen police officer Ella French, 29, an traditional bagpipe send-off - before going on a tirade against the press.

Lightfoot also denied she forced her way into the hospital against the wishes of the family of her partner, who was also injured during Saturday shooting.

Her comments, made during a press conference on Wednesday, were intended to clear up reports that a traditional honor guard had been skipped when French's body was taken from the hospital to the medical examiner's office.

After her death, First Deputy Police Supt. Eric Carter - the department's second-in-command - demanded the Chicago Fire Department ambulance carrying her body to head straight for the medical examiner's office, bypassing a bagpipe procession.

'We don't have 20 minutes for this s**t,' Carter can be heard saying on a recording obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times.

'We're not waiting on the bagpipes. Go ahead and get the vehicle inside. Take it all the way inside. Do not stop.'

The report had sparked confusion as officers killed in the line of duty are often celebrated with a formal honor guard and the ceremonial playing of bagpipes at their funerals. Funeral arrangements for French have not yet been made known.


Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot slammed the 'sickening' media for its 'race to the bottom' reporting of Ella French's murder after cops turned their backs on her

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot slammed the 'sickening' media for its 'race to the bottom' reporting of Ella French's murder after cops turned their backs on her

Chicago cops turned their backs as Mayor Lightfoot tried to approach them during a vigil held at the University of Chicago Medical Center following the shooting of two police officers

Chicago cops turned their backs as Mayor Lightfoot tried to approach them during a vigil held at the University of Chicago Medical Center following the shooting of two police officers

Lightfoot ripped the reports that the department had skipped the traditional honor guard ceremony as 'just not true.' 

'My understanding is there was no official honor guard that night, there was - let me choose my words carefully - I think a well-meaning, but not well-organized group that wanted to hijack the procession,' Lightfoot said.

The mayor appears to have been implying that members of the city's police department and its supporters would have appeared at the presence too.  

She said the impromptu procession would have meant that French's family 'would have been delayed exponentially in getting to the morgue' as the medical examiner prepared for her autopsy as a part of the investigation into her death.

'And again, given the new restrictions that the new coroner has put in place, that wouldn't have been fair to them and they may have lost an important window of time,' Lightfoot said. 

'So the call was made, under those circumstances, to focus on the family. Eric Carter made the right call. I support what he did and I'm horrified that in this moment people are trying to savage him for whatever agenda or purpose.' 

She added: 'I would just caution you all. Be careful. Be careful. Check your sources. Make sure they're accurate. Get the right context. Because I know firsthand, it's really hard when the media becomes ferocious in propagating a story that's just not true.' 

Garry McCarthy, the department's former superintendent, said officers 'feel under attack by politicians' after French's body was taken directly to the medical examiner's office

Garry McCarthy, the department's former superintendent, said officers 'feel under attack by politicians' after French's body was taken directly to the medical examiner's office

Chicago Police Officers are seen saluting in respect for Ella French after her death on Saturday

Chicago Police Officers are seen saluting in respect for Ella French after her death on Saturday 

Officers with the Chicago Police Department are pictured in front of an American flag after Ella French's shooting death

Officers with the Chicago Police Department are pictured in front of an American flag after Ella French's shooting death

Lightfoot also denied reports that she 'forced' her way into the University of Chicago Medical Center in the wake of French's murder on Saturday night.

The father of French's work partner - who was shot in the brain, but survived, is also said to have told the mayor that she had 'blood on her hands' over the deadly shooting.

Lightfoot is said to have been left shaken after more than a dozen officers turned their backs on her after she arrived at the hospital. 

'I don't force my way anywhere. And that's offensive, frankly, that you would ask me that question,' Lightfoot responded.

She continued: 'I just sat here and talked about the fact that we've got to be really careful and you have to be really careful in your reporting and be responsible. And you just keep lobbing this nonsense that's offensive and insulting and really does a disservice to the moment that we're in.'

A prayer vigil was held in remembrance of Police Officer Ella French and her partner who continues to fight for his life on Wednesday

A prayer vigil was held in remembrance of Police Officer Ella French and her partner who continues to fight for his life on Wednesday

In other parts of the press conference, Lightfoot continued to rail against the press - saying that criticism against her poses 'a larger question than what may have happened with 10 or 15 officers.' 

She questioned why it's acceptable 'for people to engage in such nasty, vicious talk' and then have it 'repeated by media as if it is fact and true.'

'People feel like it is their right to spew hatred at everyone that they don't agree with or make fun and mock, usually anonymously and cowardly from social media,' Lightfoot said.

She added: 'I think our media plays a very important role in our democracy, but you lose me, you lose me when it's a race to the bottom and it's all about the fight and it's all about the conflict.'

'I've got to tell you, some of the reporting I've seen this week is just sickening. We all need to ask ourselves what we can do better to show our people everywhere that we have the capacity to be human beings again.' 

'Give me a break. What else are you going to mine from the bottom of the chum barrel? Come on. You're better than that. You're better than that. You're better than that,' she said. 

Chicago police union boss John Catanzara told Fox News that Lightfoot had to shoulder some of the blame for French's shooter over her alleged anti-police stance. 

A prayer vigil was held in remembrance of Police Officer Ella French and her partner who continues to fight for his life on Wednesday

A prayer vigil was held in remembrance of Police Officer Ella French and her partner who continues to fight for his life on Wednesday

Photos of Ella French are seen at a prayer vigil for her on Wednesday

Photos of Ella French are seen at a prayer vigil for her on Wednesday 

Two brothers - Emonte Morgan, 21, and his brother Eric, 22, have been arrested and charged after French, 29, was shot dead and her partner was critically injured during a routine traffic stop on Saturday.

Lightfoot arrived at the University of Chicago Medical Center shortly after the shooting, where dozens of police officers turned their backs when she greeted them. French's partner remains in critical condition at the hospital.

The father of the injured officer, who has not been named, reportedly told Lightfoot when she went to the hospital that 'there's blood on her hands.'  

A former top police official has slammed the Chicago Police Department after it was revealed that a 'sacred' ritual was skipped after the shooting death of Ella French over time concerns. 

Garry McCarthy, the department's former superintendent, told Fox News that officers 'feel under attack by politicians' after French's body was taken directly to the medical examiner's office for her autopsy without a guard of honor.

He claimed they avoided drawing their weapons to honor their fallen colleague - as is tradition - over fears they'd have to file a report for doing so, as part of new police reform laws.  

The Emerald Society, an Irish-American fraternal organization for members who most often come from law enforcement, had gathered outside the medical examiner's office to play ceremonial bagpipes for her final send-off. 

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after the bond hearings for two brothers charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Chicago Police Officer Ella French on Tuesday

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7 President John Catanzara walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after the bond hearings for two brothers charged in connection with the fatal shooting of Chicago Police Officer Ella French on Tuesday

Norfolk Southern Special Agent Hugo River prays at the memorial for Chicago police Officer Ella French on Tuesday

Norfolk Southern Special Agent Hugo River prays at the memorial for Chicago police Officer Ella French on Tuesday

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown gives an update and answers questions during a press conference at the Chicago Police Headquarters on Sunday

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown gives an update and answers questions during a press conference at the Chicago Police Headquarters on Sunday

Chicago police and other officials worked swiftly to arrest three suspects after French's death, though charges have not yet been filed.

French was the first Windy City officer to be fatally shot in the line of duty in almost two years, and the first female cop shot to death in the line of duty since 1988.

Still, McCarthy blasted the department for skipping the procession - which he called an 'inexcusable' affront to cops in the city, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

'The officers here in CPD and probably across the country … feel under attack by politicians and the public. Most of them feel like they're not being supported by their leadership,' he told Fox News. 

He added: 'It's so important, the sacred nature of rituals, certainly within policing.'

'If there's an excuse for what happened, then maybe, you know, Eric should talk about it publicly himself,' he said. 

Chicago police officers walk into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse to attend the bond hearing for Emonte Morgan, charged in the fatal shooting of Officer Ella French on Tuesday

Chicago police officers walk into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse to attend the bond hearing for Emonte Morgan, charged in the fatal shooting of Officer Ella French on Tuesday


McCarthy told Fox News that officers also did not draw their weapons, as traditionally practiced after the death of a colleague. He blamed the skipping of that tradition on possible police reform measures.

'That's probably the result of a policy that was put in place for every time you draw your weapon, you have to do a report about it. Policing is entirely under attack, and that's why we have a 100% increase in the murder rate,' McCarthy said.

McCarthy indicated to the Chicago Sun-Times that there would have been enough time for the autopsy and investigation to continue if Carter had not ordered the process to be sped up.

'There's always enough time. Let's put it that way. If we had to wait two or three days, I would have done it,' he said.

Eric Morgan is pictured during the traffic stop in the new body worn camera footage

Eric Morgan is pictured during the traffic stop in the new body worn camera footage

Eric Morgan, 22, is charged with aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon, and obstruction of justice
Emonte 'Monty' Morgan, 21, is charged with first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful use of a weapon by a felon

 The Morgan brothers were said to have been driving with expired license plates, prompting police to pull them over

Now, he told the outlet 'it would be a stretch' to think that rank-and-file officers would want to get behind Carter in the future. 

David Brown, the Chicago Police Department's current superintendent, has not yet provided comment about the medical examiner incident.

However, a spokesperson for Brown told the Chicago Sun-Times he had 'no comment beyond reminding you of what an emotionally difficult and painful night that was - and continues to be - for everyone involved.'

Brown previously served as Dallas Police Chief when the Texas city faced a horrific ambush on its police department in 2016 - then the deadliest incident for law enforcement since the 9/11 attacks. 

Micah Xavier Johnson shot dead five officers and injured nine others, while also wounding two civilians on July 7, 2016. Brown had received widespread praise for leading the Dallas Police Department through that tragedy. 

'They wanted to hijack the procession': Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot slams cops who tried to give fallen Ella French, 29, traditional bagpipe send-off and denies forcing her way into hospital against family's wishes 'They wanted to hijack the procession': Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot slams cops who tried to give fallen Ella French, 29, traditional bagpipe send-off and denies forcing her way into hospital against family's wishes Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 06:40 Rating: 5

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