Media Drudges Up Old Shooting While Officer Was Hospitalized, Fighting For Life
Troy, NY – While a Troy police detective sergeant was on a ventilator fighting for his life against COVID-19, a local newspaper seized the opportunity to drudge up a fatal officer-involved shooting he had been involved in years prior.
The sergeant later succumbed to the illness.
The Albany Times Union published a story about Troy Police Department Detective Sergeant Randall French on April 13, after his wife, Danielle French, made a plea for plasma donations on social media.
“We need help,” Danielle wrote in the April 12 Facebook post. “My husband is currently fighting for his life, on a ventilator, in the ICU. He has Covid-19. We are scared and praying and trying our best to stay positive.”
“We need anyone who has been diagnosed with the Coronavirus and has since recovered to please consider donating your plasma,” she wrote. “This new treatment could save his life.”
But when the Albany Times Union ran a story about Sgt. French the following day, Danielle’s plea for plasma donations was not at the forefront.
“Troy sergeant in fatal police shooting struggles to survive coronavirus,” the Albany Times Union’s headline read.
The paper has since altered the headline, dropping the portion about the fatal police shooting, but retained the original opening sentence.
“Detective Sgt. Randall French, the city police officer who shot and killed drunken driving suspect Edson Thevenin nearly four years ago, is on a ventilator and fighting for his life after being diagnosed with COVID-19,” the article read.
The story briefly outlined Danielle’s Facebook posts, to include her April 13 update that a plasma match had been found for her 39-year-old husband, before providing two paragraphs regarding his positive COVID-19 test.
The balance of the article focused entirely on the 2016 officer-involved shooting, to include allegations that Sgt. French lied to internal affairs investigators about what occurred after Thevenin attempted to flee the scene.
Then-Rensselaer County District Attorney Joel Abelove presented the case to a grand jury, which ultimately declined to bring charges against the sergeant.
Sgt. French, a 16-year veteran-of-the-force who also served as a North Greenbush Ambulance Association paramedic, succumbed to the novel coronavirus on April 30, the Albany Times Union Reported.
In addition to his wife, Sgt. French leaves behind his daughters, Juliana and Caitlyn, according to his obituary.
"From his service as a paramedic, continued support and advisement with the Troy Police Cadet Post, and his leadership with the Special Operations Section, Sgt. French personified public service in the field of public safety," Troy Mayor Patrick Madden told The Troy Record.
“Sgt. French was a dedicated member of the Troy Police Department whose 16 years of service earned him the respect of his fellow officers, law enforcement professionals, and community members,” Madden continued. “His death is a profound loss for the department and the entire city of Troy.”