Lori Lightfoot, the democratic mayor of Chicago, attempted to claim that the reason that the body of fallen Chicago Police Officer Ella French did not receive the CPD’s traditional bagpipe tribute was due to the fact that the prospective musical performance would have violated Chicagos new COVId-19 restrictions. As reported by the Chicago Sun-Times this past Thursday, this claim was just simply not true: French had been denied the CPD’s traditional honors by a certain deputy superintendent who personally refused to allow massed officers to allow the ritual performance.
French fell in the line of duty in an exchange of gunfire that was the end result of a traffic stop this past Friday. Her partner, who was with her at the time, is currently still critically wounded and in intensive care over at the University of Chicago medical center. The two people who had been in the stopped vehicle are currently in custody after their arrest, and one of them has been charged with first-degree murder in relation to French’s death.
As reported by the Sun-Times this past Saturday evening, officers had gathered “at the Cook County medical examiner’s office to give their slain colleague, Ella French, a final send-off,” stated The Sun-Times.
They were, instead, forcibly waved off by a deputy superintendent who stated to the officers that “we don’t have time for this s***,” referencing the musical tribute ritual.
“Ignoring a sacred ritual, [First Deputy Police Supt. Eric] Carter impatiently declared: ‘We don’t have 20 minutes for this s***.” He demanded the Chicago Fire Department ambulance bearing French’s body be taken directly into the medical examiner’s office, skipping the Emerald Society’s traditional playing of bagpipes,” stated the Sun-Times, referencing a recording of the incident. “We’re not waiting on the bagpipes. Go ahead and get the vehicle inside.”
“Take it all the way inside. Do not stop,” Carter stated on the recording.
When questioned about the incident, Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot attempted to claim that Carter did not make the decision to cancel the tribute, but that the outdoor bagpipe event was just limited by COVID-19 protocols.
“Mayor Lori Lightfoot says the decision not to allow the honor guard/bagpipes at the morgue after the shooting death of Officer Ella French was due to COVID-19 protocols set by the medical examiner, and it was not a decision made by First Deputy Eric Carter,” stated a reporter for WTTW, Chicago’s public television network.
Almost directly after, however, the Cook County Medical Examiner gave their statement on the subject. They contradicted Lightfoot’s explanation, going as far as to point out that COVID-19 protocols have not changed concerning the outdoor bagpipe tributes, and that the event for French would have been entirely appropriate and within pandemic regulations.