Elgin councilman says officer who fatally shot resident should not return to duty
For the second time in six weeks, tempers flared during a meeting of the Elgin City Council, where several activists spoke against allowing the police officer who fatally shot resident Decynthia Clements to return to his job.
One councilman, Corey Dixon, publicly stated he doesn't want the officer back on duty, either.
Although he loves the city and the police department, Dixon said, "I am hurt by what happened. I do not want to see Officer (Christian) Jensen back in uniform at this police department."
Clements, 34, was fatally shot March 12 by Jensen, a lieutenant, after she had an hourlong standoff with police along the Jane Addams Tollway. Police body camera video shows Clements started a fire inside her car and exited holding a knife.
Jensen has been on paid leave, and the investigation into the shooting is in the hands of Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx, whose office will decide whether it was justified. Dixon addressed Foxx, saying, "We're waiting with bated breath on what you do."
If Jensen is cleared of wrongdoing, the city would conduct an internal investigation -- which some council members say should be done by an outside investigator -- to determine whether Jensen violated police department policy or procedure.
Clements' sister, Emmetia Sneed, who doesn't live in Elgin, said Jensen, if reinstated, could harm someone else.
"If Officer Jensen is let back on the force, I pray for you guys' safety," Sneed said.
Resident Steve Thoren, who is running for a seat on the city council in April, spoke in favor of police, saying he's grateful for their service to the community. Wednesday was Law Enforcement Appreciation Day.
"Our heroes don't always wear capes. They wear badges, too," Thoren said.
Activist Jose Bosque also exhorted the city council not to allow Jensen back on duty. He is part of a group called "Community Advocates of Elgin," whose president Corey Battles said comprises about 10 members.
Bosque had a loud exchange with Councilman Terry Gavin, whom he accused of laughing at supporters of the Clements family. Gavin denied that.
Bosque also accused Councilwoman Rose Martinez of "staining the names of people who are standing in solidarity with Decynthia." Martinez denied that and said, "I think there is some healing to do in our city."
Councilwoman Tish Powell said it's important to let people express their grief and pain over Clements' killing, which does not equate with being anti-police.
"I readily admit I haven't walked a day in your shoes," the Rev. Jeff Mikyska of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church said to police. "That said, the outcome was the tragic loss of a life, painful wounds for a family, painful wounds for you as a department and the unfortunate loss of trust among some throughout our community."
Mikyska was among 19 clergy who sent a letter to the city council last month asking that Jensen not return to active duty; the pastors said they don't speak for their congregations, only for themselves.
Decisions regarding Jensen's employment are in the hands of Police Chief Ana Lalley and City Manager Rick Kozal, but residents, pastors and city council members have the right to express their opinions, Mayor David Kaptain said. "It's our job to help give them guidance."
Clements' family has a pending federal lawsuit against the city.