Chicago consultant will help manage Elgin session Saturday about police shooting
An outside consultant will help manage Saturday's "listening session" about a fatal police shooting in Elgin, as the city continues to wait for a decision regarding the fate of the officer.
Lt. Christian Jensen has been on paid leave since he fatally shot resident Decynthia Clements on March 12, 2018. The decision about whether he will return to work in Elgin is up to City Manager Rick Kozal after a recommendation from Police Chief Ana Lalley and input from the city council.
Mayor David Kaptain and other council members said that, initially, an announcement about Jensen was expected before Saturday. That won't happen until next week or later, they said.
Lalley said Wednesday she's still working on crafting her recommendation to Kozal, a process that included asking for additional materials and interviewing Jensen and other officers after consultants from Hillard Heintze presented their report last month.
In writing a thorough recommendation, Lalley said she's also taking into account residents' questions during a July 30 "question and answer" session held by the police department.
"This is an evolving process and I'm being considerate of everyone's questions and everyone's opinions," she said.
The session Saturday will be held by Elgin police from 4 to 6 p.m. in the Seigle Auditorium of Elgin Community College, 1700 Spartan Drive, Elgin, with the help of consultant Christopher Mallette, former executive director of the Chicago Violence Reduction Strategy initiative.
Mallette was hired "because we see the value in bringing in an outside party to help facilitate the dialogue between and community, police and city leadership," city spokeswoman Molly Center said. He will be paid an hourly rate of $120 not to exceed $20,000; it hasn't been determined whether he will do more work for the city after Saturday, Center said.
Mallette, who has a law degree, has been a guest on "60 Minutes," "Nightline" and "20/20," his resume says. He's now director of community outreach, athletic director and head football coach at Chicago Hope Academy, a high school in Chicago.
Activist Marcus Banner criticized the decision to hire any outside consultant, because people without established community connections are not effective, he said. Banner was the main organizer of a protest July 30 that asked for Jensen to be fired. He said no protest is planned Saturday.
He called the listening session "a dog and pony show," because the community has expressed itself, and said he believes a decision to bring back Jensen has been made. Some city council members have said Jensen should be reinstated, others are against it.
Mallette has met with members of the community, clergy and police citizens advisory group to gather input about Clements' shooting, police initiatives, addressing mental health and more ahead of Saturday's session, the police chief said.
Jensen shot Clements after he and three other officers moved to rescue Clements from her burning vehicle and she exited holding two knives. At one point, she held a knife to her neck and autopsy results showed she had cocaine in her system.
The Cook County state's attorney's office and Hillard Heintze found Jensen was justified in using deadly force. Hillard Heintze also found Jensen violated some department policies, such as when he twice turned off his body camera, though it was on during the shooting.