West Englewood violence prevention activists send thoughts, prayers to family of CPD officer killed

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some Englewood activists who focus on violence prevention and building the relationship between CPD and the community said their thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Officer Ella French and the Chicago Police Department.

"I talked with a couple of officers in the 7th District and gave them my condolence," said Charles McKenzie, founder and CEO of Englewood First Responders. "I know losing one of theirs is painful."

McKenzie's nonprofit focuses on violence prevention, and he said his team was out that night in the neighborhood when the officers were shot.

"We were standing around making sure no one carjacking, no one was getting robbed," he said. "We are a violence interruption team."

McKenzie said officers risk their lives to protect the public.

"Their job is dangerous, every single day. Every day they leave their home, they don't know if they are going to make it back. They are human like us," he said.

Joseph Williams, who lives in the neighborhood, said there's some concern that the deadly shooting could be a setback for building trust between police and residents.

"I think you see a community that is tense. You see a community that is tense on both sides with officers and community," he said.

But Williams also said he's hopeful the tragedy will bring the police and the community they serve closer together.

"No one deserves to have their life taken," the community activist said. "No one deserves to go through this type of tragedies. And I think, for most people, you sympathize and that's when your heart comes that these are regular people just like you are."
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