Elgin police union billboard supports officer who fatally shot woman
The Elgin police union put up a billboard supporting a police officer who fatally shot a woman and whose fate remains to be determined by the city.
"The members of Police Benevolent & Protective Assocation Unit #54 proudly support Lt. Chris Jensen *274," says the billboard just west of the National Street bridge over the Fox River, just outside downtown Elgin.
Jensen's badge number is 274. As a lieutenant, he is part of management and not represented by the union.
Elgin police union President Dan McNanna didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. The Illinois Police Benevolent and Protective Association "does not have a comment on it as it is a local issue," said Elizabeth Drea, executive assistant to the organization's director.
The billboard comes about two months after activists who want Jensen fired put up their own billboard for 30 days asking for justice for shooting victim Decynthia Clements. She was shot by Jensen on March 12, 2018, after she came out of a vehicle holding two knives.
Jensen, who was cleared of wrongdoing by the Cook County state's attorney's office, has been on paid leave since the shooting. A petition with more than 1,600 signatures asking for Jensen's firing was submitted last week.
At a special meeting at 9 a.m. Saturday at city hall, 150 Dexter Court, the city council will hear a presentation about a consultant's investigation into the shooting. The consultant found that Jensen's use of force was in compliance with department policies. A decision about Jensen's employment will be made public sometime after Saturday, Police Chief Ana Lalley said.
Corey Battles is among the activists who paid for a billboard in May saying, "Not in Vain, 3-12-18, Justice for Decynthia." It was along Crystal Avenue near Highland Avenue, about a mile north of the police union billboard.
The police union billboard "showed the fact that they are just bullies," Battles said. "It's showing the fact that (they are saying), 'We're going to throw this back into your face and the community."
Battles also pointed to the location and size of the billboard, much larger than the one put up by the activists, he said.
"It is right in the east side of Elgin, right in the predominantly minority neighborhood. It's a way to send the message to the community, and especially the minority community, that there is pretty much nothing we can do about it," he said.
The shooting "has brought about many different emotions from community members and officers," Lalley said.
"As we make our way to the next steps, starting first with the council meeting on Saturday, I would ask that we continue to respect each other's thoughts and opinions and continue to listen to one another," she said.