Rituals are important. Part of the ritual for a police officer or firefighter killed in the line of duty is to have an honor guard and bagpipers march the ambulance from the street into the receiving dock of the Office of the Cook County Medical Examiner’s facility.
The ritual is not just to honor the officer. It is for the personnel lining up to salute their fallen comrade. More important, it is for the family. I say again. The ritual is FOR THE FAMILY.
First Deputy Superintendent, Eric Carter, tried to cancel part of the ritual for fallen Officer Ella French. “We can’t wait for the bagpipers. We don’t have 20 minutes to wait for this s**t.”
Carter turned the ritual into “This s**t.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot defended Carter. How does one defend the indefensible?
“There was no official honor guard that night. There was, let me choose my words carefully, [a] well-meaning but not well-organized group that wanted to hijack the procession. Which would have meant that the family would have been delayed exponentially in getting to the morgue,” the mayor said.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
“Given the new restrictions that the new coroner has put in place, that wouldn’t have been fair to them. … So, a 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.” (Chicago Sun-Times)
The Medical Examiner’s office refuted the mayor’s statement. By the way, there is no coroner in Cook County. The position was changed to the Office of the Medical Examiner in the mid-1970s. Details matter. Just like Superintendent Brown’s mistake in calling Officer French Ella Fitzgerald twice.
Either Eric Carter lied to the mayor, or the mayor lied to the citizens to cover up for Carter. The citizens of Chicago should be horrified that Carter is being lionized for his disrespect and dishonor to Officer Ella French and her family by the mayor.
These rituals are carefully planned in detail well in advance. The honor guard procession is part of that meticulous plan. It has been for years. Some mysterious rogue group did not hijack the plan. There was no agenda or purpose. There was only a meticulous plan.
Eric Carter deserves to be “savaged.” Eric Carter decided things were taking too long for his taste. It had nothing to do with regards to the family or Medical Examiner protocols. That is just a fabrication to justify his dishonorable impatience.
A story was concocted to make Carter look like he was doing the right thing, the noble thing. That is all it is, a fairy tale. Chicago is a city of tall tales when people get caught doing something they should not do. It is all “Once upon a time” and “Twas a dark and stormy night.” There is a happy ending for the disreputable.
The rituals are important. Eric Carter knew this. The mayor should know this. There was no need to bum rush things that fateful night. The planned ritual should have played out. The family should have witnessed the honor afforded their daughter, Officer Ella French.
Lightfoot’s tall tale cut the last thread of morale that was left in the Chicago Police Department. By defending the indefensible, mayor Lori Lightfoot lost the Chicago Police and Fire Department members, the retirees, and the people they are connected to.
Police officers are angry. Their families are angry. The retired cops are angrier than usual. On election day, if Lightfoot runs, we will vote with our anger.
God forgets and forgives. We never forget the fallen. We never forget the disrespect given to our fallen. We never forgive those who dishonored our fallen. We will never forgive or forget Eric Carter. We will never forgive or forget Mayor Lori Lightfoot for defending his dishonorable behavior.
The Chicago Police Department has no more time for Eric Carter’s s**t. Carter is devoid of honor. His actions that night were despicable. The rank and file no longer have confidence in him. When leaders lose the confidence of their subordinates, they cannot lead.
Carter should do the honorable thing and resign or retire for his dishonorable behavior. If he lied to the mayor, he should be fired from his position, reducing him to his former rank.
Ella French is a hero. The missteps over her death, from calling her Ella Fitzgerald twice to denying her an honor guard is horrific.
It appears that Dumb and Dumber are running the Chicago Police Department. We need smarter people to lead the members of the Chicago Police Department.