Elgin City Council Vote To Have Outside Firm Investigate Fatal Shooting Of DeCynthia Clements

Bernie Tafoya
February 28, 2019 - 10:51 am

Photo provided by Elgin City Council

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CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Passionate Elgin residents spoke out Wednesday night as the Elgin City Council was deciding to have an outside firm look into a deadly police shooting that happened nearly a year ago. 

By a 7-1 vote, the council approved hiring the firm of Hillard Heintze which was co-founded by former Chicago Police Supt. Terry Hillard. 

Over the next 60 days, Hillard Heintze will evaluate the actions of Lt. Christian Jensen and other officers involved in the incident March 12, 2018 which ended in the shooting death of Elgin resident DeCynthia Clements. 

Lt. Jensen is the officer who shot Clements. 

The consulting firm will also look at the policies and procedures in the use of force by the Elgin Police Department, according to Elgin Corporation Counsel Bill Cogley.

The EPD announced last week that the Cook County State's Attorney's Office had decided not to prosecute Lt. Jensen. That follows an Illinois State Police investigation which concluded without finding any cause for recommending charges against him. 

Councilwoman Rose Martinez applauded the use of the outside firm.

"Not everybody’s going to be happy, but I think this is good. This is a good start," she said.  "If something that we’re lacking and they point it out, then it’s something that we have to improve."

Councilwoman Carol Rauschenberger feels good about Hillard Heintze doing the investigation. 

"I was glad to see their staff is people of color, women, people from the police force and people from the outside," she said.

Councilwoman Tish Powell is glad the firm will look at more than the shooting incident in order "to give us some insight as to whether or not there are some things we need to tweak to potentially avoid anything, you know, minimize something like this from happening again in our community."

Residents who spoke indicated they were pleased Lt. Jensen will remain on leave during the investigation, but they do not want him allowed back to work. 

Elgin City Council

Pastor Carol Book of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church addressed the council saying, "I ask you, please, do not bring Lt Jensen back under any circumstances and make a clear statement that, we do things differently here in Elgin. We want to work together toward a more peaceful and safe community, a peace that’s fair and just for everyone.

"We do not feel Lt. Jensen should be allowed to return to work for the EPD under any circumstances or in any capacity."

Another resident also urged the firing of Lt. Jensen.

"Bringing this guy back to any position in Elgin, is going to destroy the city," he said.

Resident Gina McNamara said Lt. Jensen is a liability to the city of Elgin and that, "If you are unable to support us in a decision which supports Officer Jensen’s termination, I cannot vote for you."

Earl Silbar of Elgin indicated he was not against having an outside firm investigate the Clements shooting death, as well as the police department's use of force policies and procedures. But he was against the city hiring Hillard Heintze, which he believed would allow the City Council to advance scapegoating and a cover-up of the shooting.  

"This firm, in particular, is completely about justifying and defending and promoting police department regulations and their interests," he said.