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Federal choose dismisses lawsuit in opposition to Elgin officer who fatally shot Decynthia Clements

DeCynthia Clements

A federal court docket on Thursday dismissed a lawsuit in opposition to the Elgin police officer who shot and killed 34-year-old motorist Decynthia Clements early on March 12, 2018, following an hourlong standoff alongside I-90 throughout which authorities say she ignited the SUV she was driving.

Clements’ household filed a wrongful-death lawsuit in opposition to the officer and the town of Elgin, claiming police used extreme pressure, did not intervene, have been improperly educated and engaged in willful and wanton conduct.

“The dying of Ms. Clements was tragic and the Court docket expresses its condolences to her property and her household,” wrote U.S. District Court docket Choose Jeffrey I. Cummings in his opinion. “Nonetheless, based mostly upon the undisputed information and the ideas of regulation … the court docket concludes that (Lt. Christian Jensen’s) conduct didn’t quantity to a violation of Ms. Clements’s constitutional rights.”

The Elgin lady’s dying marked the town’s first deadly police capturing in 19 years. The capturing sparked neighborhood outcry and requires Jensen’s firing. Nevertheless, the Cook dinner County state’s legal professional’s workplace decided it was justified, and Jensen was reinstated in 2019.

At about 11:50 p.m. on March 11, 2018, one other Elgin police officer observed Clements sitting in her automotive close to a closed bike path. About half-hour later, the patrol officer returned and observed the car was nonetheless there, in line with Cummings’ order. The officer approached and observed a knife on the entrance passenger seat.

In response to the choose’s opinion, the officer famous Clements “exhibited dilated pupils and clenched tooth, that are each attainable signs of psychological well being episodes and the affect of narcotic stimulants to the central nervous system.” Whereas the officer checked her background, Clements drove away and onto I-90, the place she collided with a guardrail which prompted two flat tires, authorities mentioned. Different Elgin officers arrived, together with Illinois state troopers.

Authorities say Clements refused a number of requests to exit her automotive and appeared agitated, lighting one cigarette after which one other earlier than igniting the automotive. On police physique digital camera footage, officers might be heard saying she had a knife and a historical past of psychological misery. One officer indicated she held a knife at her neck at one level.

As heavy smoke poured from the automotive, officers moved towards the automotive after discussing their method. Physique digital camera video confirmed Clements exiting the smoke-filled car with a knife at which level she was concurrently shot thrice and tased.

Of their grievance, the household claimed Clements “stumbled out of the car, crouched to get under the smoke, and was shot inside one second of her first foot hitting the bottom as she fled her car, complying with Elgin police officer calls for that she exit the car.”

Cummings discovered the police digital camera footage contradicted Clements’ household’s model of the occasion. An unbiased skilled requirements investigation by Hillard Heintze LLC of Chicago decided each makes use of of pressure complied with division coverage.

∙ The Related Press contributed to this report.

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