Chicago police officer Ella French, 29, was fatally shot during a traffic stop in Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 7. French was killed and another officer was seriously injured in an exchange of gunfire after officers pulled over a vehicle with two brothers and a woman over an expired license plate at around 9 pm.
The two brothers have been charged in the shooting, the Chicago Police Department announced on Monday. Emonte Morgan, 21, is charged with first-degree murder, as well as attempted murder and other charges while Eric Morgan, 22, faces charges of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, unlawful use of a weapon by a felon and obstruction of justice.
As the news broke on the internet and French was identified as the slain officer, some false claims started being circulated about French's death, including one that said French was killed shortly after returning from maternity leave and was the mother of a 2-month-old daughter. Here are some of the tweets:
Right-wing personalities including Charlie Kirk and Jenna Ellis also used the claim to their advantage.
French's Brother, CPD Confirm She Did Not Have Any Children
However, the Chicago Sun-Times attempted to set the record straight by citing Andrew French, Ella French's brother, who told the local news outlet that his sister was not married and she did not have any children.
"Andrew French said his sister was not married and had no children, despite stories being circulated on social media Sunday," The Sun-Times reported. Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown also confirmed during a news conference that French was only survived by her mother and brother.
As pointed out by a Chicago-based journalist Stephanie Lulay, who attempted to trace the origin of the misinformation some of the earliest examples of the false rumor were shared by unverified accounts the morning after the officer's death. The rumor snowballed after it was picked up by tabloids, news outlets and verified social media accounts.