The Chicago cop who was shot and wounded at a traffic stop where Officer Ella French was murdered spoke out for the first time this week. Officer Carlos Yanez Jr., 39, thanked all those who supported him after he was shot, while his father slammed Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot for not standing up for the police.
On Aug. 7, Officers Yanez and French exchanged gunfire with suspects during a traffic stop. The 29-year-old French was shot and killed; Yanez suffered two gunshot wounds to the head. Yanez "suffered from multiple gunshot wounds to the eye, brain, and shoulder all causing potentially lifelong disability," according to a GoFundMe page that is collecting donations. The crowd-funding campaign had raised over $270,000 as of Friday morning.
The family of Yanez shared a video of the wounded officer from his hospital bed speaking for the first time publicly since the shooting, where he gave thanks and gave a special message to his wife and 3-year-old son.
"Thank you for your support and your donations and your prayers. I love you all," Yanez whispered. "To my son, C.J., and my wife, Brenda, I do this all for you."
Carlos Yanez Sr., the wounded cop's father, informed the staff of the Chicago hospital on two occasions that his son was "not a fan of Lori Lightfoot, to put it mildly." The family did not want her visiting the floor of the University of Chicago Medical Center where Yanez Jr. was being treated on the night of the shooting.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot still made an appearance, and Yanez Sr. told her that he believes her leadership is putting the lives of police in danger.
"I said that the actions by her administration and her rhetoric of saying how police need to be reconditioned or retrained or whatever was causing them to be in danger. That it was not allowing the officers to take the instinctive action necessary to protect themselves," Yanez Sr. told the Chicago Sun-Times.
"All the officers are told now that, if you draw your weapon and it's not a situation that warrants it, unless you have guaranteed proof, there'll be consequences," said Yanez Sr., who was a Chicago cop for 25 years. "They didn't do that when I was on the job. They let us be the police. There wasn't a day that I didn't draw my weapon, have it behind my leg or behind my thigh. ... It's not about race. It's about survival of the officer. But they don't have that now. They don't have that confidence that someone's gonna back them up."
"When they show up, the bad guys are ready for them. They know they can't draw their weapons. They know they can't be chased. You can't put hands on them without getting sued. Everybody's got a camera and they're always challenging them, provoking them. It's a no-win situation for them," Yanez Sr. continued. "She's tied the hands of the police. She wants 'em to police with one hand behind their back, and you can't fight evil crime, brute force, with one hand tied behind their backs."
Yanez Sr. accused Lightfoot of "using the race card or the violent police card just to get votes and play both sides of the fence."
"She shows up to say remorse for the police officer shot," he said of the Democratic mayor of Chicago. "But what have you done to promote police in the eyes of the public?"
Yanez Sr. said, "Even doctors make mistakes and they're sued. But they're not all washed with the same brush that they're all bad. You don't teach the children to fear the police like they do now. ... She's creating an environment where people are starting to question if the police are good or not."
"It's not pro-police or pro-people. It's about pro-right and wrong, good and evil," the distraught father said of the mayor. "But she demonstrates by her actions that she doesn't really have any consideration for the safety of the officers. They're expendable. They're replaceable. Hire new ones. Train 'em differently. But they're gonna get killed. You can't change survival tactics that are in place for years to protect the officers as well as the citizens to pacify some voters. It's not gonna work."
"Mayor Lightfoot, you're not a police officer. ... The law enforcement you did was prosecution. It's a totally different arena," the former Chicago cop stated. "We catch the lions and the evil monsters for you in a cage. Then you prosecute them."
He added, "Let the people hunting down evil and catching the monsters — let them do it the way they have to do it to catch 'em, not the way you feel is politically correct."
"Let the police be the police," the father exclaimed.
The mayor's office declined to respond to the Chicago Sun-Times regarding the comments made by the father of the wounded police officer.
Yanez Sr. was one of the thousands who attended a vigil to pay their respects to French on Tuesday night.
French's brother, Andrew French, remembered his sister tried to make a difference by being a police officer.
"She loved hard and she loved this city. She loved everything about it except for the nasty parts that we all know. And she made a point of becoming a police officer to try and change those things," Andrew French said of his sister, who joined the Chicago Police Department in 2018.
Yanez Sr. also attended French's funeral on Thursday and was joined by CPD Officer Joshua Blas, who shot one of the suspects at the fatal traffic stop.
Two brothers have been charged in connection with the lethal shooting. Emonte Morgan, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, attempted murder, and weapons charges. Eric Morgan, 22, faces weapons charges as well as one count of obstruction of justice.
At the time of the shooting, both brothers were on probation for separate cases. Emonte Morgan pleaded guilty to robbery in Cook County court last year, and Eric Morgan pleaded guilty to theft in Dane County, Wisconsin, records show.
Fallen Officer Ella French's Brother, Wounded Officer Carlos Yanez's Father Speak At Vigil www.youtube.com