Student who defaced Ella French memorial did it to cause ‘hurt,’ prosecutors say

A prosecutor called the incident, recorded by surveillance cameras at the Thompson Center, “shameful.”

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Portrait of Officer Ella French who was shot in 2021 during a traffic stop in West Englewood.

Officer Ella French.

Chicago Police Department

When a college student removed a photo from a memorial to murdered Chicago Police Officer Ella French on the day of her funeral and threw it in the trash, she did so to intentionally cause hurt, Cook County prosecutors alleged Thursday.

“This was designed to hurt,” Assistant State’s Attorney James Murphy told Judge Charles Beach during 26-year-old Anna Kochakian’s bond hearing. “There’s no question about this.”

Murphy called the incident on Aug. 19 “shameful” and said Kochakian’s actions, which were recorded by surveillance cameras at the Thompson Center, 100 W. Randolph St., where the memorial had been displayed, showed she had been “staking the place out” and had not acted impulsively.

Kochakian had posted video of herself on social media as she grabbed the photo, crumpled it up and placed it in the trash, Murphy said. She allegedly added “a satisfied emoji” to the post and talked about making a previous attempt to kick over the display.

Murphy did not say what Kochakian’s exact motivations were, and her social media post did not include a reason for her alleged actions.

Anna Kochakian

Anna Kochakian

Illinois State Police

“This is a Class 4 felony, the lowest form of felony in this state,” Kochakian’s assistant public defender argued.

Kochakian, her attorney added, has never been convicted of any crime.

“I don’t think she’s ever been arrested for anything,” he added.

Kochakian works at a Lincoln Park restaurant and is working on her master’s degree, the attorney said.

Beach ultimately decided to keep Kochakian’s bond where it was when she entered the courtroom — at $15,000 — which had been set by another judge who approved the warrant for her arrest on a criminal defacement of property charge.

She will have to post $1,500 to be released as the case continues.

Illinois State Police arrested Kochakian on that warrant Wednesday at her home in Chicago.

State police made a point of saying they had restrained Kochakian with a set of handcuffs that belonged to French’s partner, Officer Carlos Yanez, who was badly wounded in the shooting that left French dead.

On Aug. 7, French and Yanez were shot after they pulled over an SUV with expired plates at 63rd Street and Bell Avenue.

Brothers Emonte Morgan, 21, and Eric Morgan, 22, have been charged with several felonies, including murder and attempted murder in the shooting.

Kochakian is expected back in court on March 2.

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