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Hundreds attend prayer service for slain Officer Ella French and her wounded partner

“Officer Ella French is the best this city has to offer. She is truly Chicago’s finest,” Chaplain Kimberly Lewis-Davis said Wednesday evening.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Hundreds of people gathered outside the Morgan Park police station Wednesday evening on the South Side for a prayer vigil in memory of slain Chicago Police Officer Ella French and her wounded partner.

The crowd stood shoulder-to-shoulder; some brought “Thin Blue Line” police flags that blew in the wind. Many bowed their heads as Chicago Police Chaplain Kimberly Lewis-Davis led the group in prayer and shared words honoring French, who died Saturday night after she and her partner were shot during a traffic stop in West Englewood.

“We grieve because Officer Ella French paid the ultimate sacrifice; we grieve because we knew Officer French,” Lewis-Davis said. “We saw her excitement for life and her willingness to serve. We saw her effervescent spirit, saw the light in her eyes and her infectious laugh, witnessed how her presence shifted a room. We saw her optimism and hope.

“Officer Ella French is the best this city has to offer. She is truly Chicago’s finest.”

Several speakers called for the end of senseless violence.

Phil Cline, executive director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, called the officers heroes and offered condolences to French’s family.

“A small part of everyone of us died when we lost Ella — not just members of the Police Department, but every Chicagoan,” Cline said. “We did not lose just an exceptional police officer, we lost a remarkable person. one with courage and compassion, one who made a positive difference every day of her life.

“The motto of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation is never forget. Ella, we’ll never forget you or your family.”