Residents: Don't let Elgin police officer involved in fatal shooting come back to work
After a rumor started circulating that an Elgin police officer who fatally shot a woman was going to come back to work, some residents and relatives of the victim voiced their opposition Wednesday to the city council.
"We're supposed to let the system play out, but this don't sound good," said Charles Clements, whose 34-year-old daughter Decynthia Clements was fatally shot March 12 by Lt. Christian Jensen. "It don't feel good at all."
Clements was killed after she had an hourlong standoff with police along Interstate 90 during which she started a fire inside her car and exited holding a knife. Jensen has been on paid leave since the day of the shooting.
Police Chief Ana Lalley was adamant there is no current plan for Jensen to come back to work because the investigation is still in the hands of the Cook County state attorney's office, which will determine whether the shooting was justified.
If Jensen is cleared of wrongdoing, the city would conduct an internal investigation to determine whether Jensen violated any police department policy or procedure. Lalley said there have been discussions about assigning that to an outside investigator, as some council members have asked.
Bringing back Jensen would encourage distrust of leadership, resident Gena McNamara said. "He does not represent the integrity that we expect of the police department," she said.
Alton Jones of Machesney Park, who said he's Decynthia Clements' cousin, said Elgin "has a gang problem ... dressed in blue." Jones got into a brief shouting match with Councilman Terry Gavin, with both of them yelling at the other to "show some respect."
Resident Bobbi Lewis said the city council needs to pay attention to what residents are saying. "You're frustrated. You're irritated with what we're all saying up here, but you really need to take heed, and you need to listen."
The Cook County state attorney's office has been in charge of the investigation since August, when the Illinois State Police completed its preliminary investigation. Those results were not made public and Elgin police said they didn't have any details, either.
Clements' family has an ongoing federal civil rights lawsuit naming the city, Jensen and unnamed officers present the night of the shooting. The lawsuit states police knew she was having a mental health crisis and used excessive force.
The defendants denied that Jensen shot Clements without reasonable cause or legal justification. They also denied knowing what specific diagnosis Clements had, but they admitted it appeared she was having a crisis of some kind and suicide was a concern.