CHICAGO (CBS) — Facing opposition from more than 20 aldermen over her pick to lead the city’s police oversight agency, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Civilian Office of Police Accountability interim chief Andrea Kersten should apologize for a report recommending a three-day suspension for slain Police Officer Ella French.

Lightfoot has nominated COPA interim chief administrator Andrea Kersten for the full-time job, despite a letter from 20 aldermen opposing that pick, arguing the agency’s report on the botched 2019 raid at the home of Anjanette Young should disqualify Kersten from leading the agency, because the report recommended French be suspended for three days for not wearing a body camera during the raid.

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The report was prepared before French was shot and killed in the line of duty, but many aldermen and even Lightfoot and Chicago Police Supt. David Brown have said the report should have been amended or redacted to remove mention of French in light of her death.

Lightfoot last week said it was “the height of tone deafness” for the recommended discipline for French to be included in the COPA report after she was killed.

Following the City Council meeting on Wednesday, Lightfoot stood by her nomination of Kersten to be the permanent chief administrator at COPA, but said she should apologize for her handling of that report.

“I thought it didn’t make sense for her and for COPA to put out a recent report that had Officer French’s name in it. I said before and I say again, and I said to her, it was tone deaf. It was absolutely unnecessary. That family has been traumatized beyond all imagination. It doesn’t make sense that this was done,” she said. “I think Andrea understands she’s got to explain herself, and she’s got to apologize to the family. So I’m looking forward to what she has to say.”

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Kersten plans to address the COPA report on the Anjanette Young raid during Thursday night’s meeting of the Chicago Police Board. COPA officials have stressed the report was finished in April, months before French’s death in the line of duty, and have insisted city ordinance prevents them from redacting its reports before they are made public except in rare circumstances.

Lightfoot said, despite the controversy, she believes Kersten is the best candidate to lead COPA.

“I think she is the most qualified person of the applicants that were put forward to me, and I believe that she has to have a hearing, and should be judged on her entire body of work, not one incident,” the mayor said.

When Kersten’s nomination was formally introduced to the City Council on Wednesday, Ald. Raymond Lopez (15th) – who is a frequent critic of the mayor, but was not among the 20 aldermen who signed the letter opposing Kersten’s appointment – used a parliamentary maneuver to send the nomination to the Rules Committee, rather than the Public Safety Committee, delaying the confirmation process for now.

Lightfoot said Kersten deserves to get a confirmation hearing, and should use that opportunity to explain herself to aldermen.

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“She’s got a lot to do, and explain to the members of the City Council why she is best qualified to move from the acting role to the full-time chief administrator of COPA,” Lightfoot said. “She should be judged by the entire body of work, and her vision for moving this organization forward. And if she does all those things, I’m confident that she’ll win 26 votes to be able to move forward to be confirmed.”

CBS 2 Chicago Staff