If there’s anything you’d think shouldn’t need explaining, it’s the likely outcome of rushing a police officer with a knife.
Jeffrey Swoboda, chief of police in Elgin, Ill., addressed a crowd of protesters Tuesday after an officer shot and killed a black woman who threatened him with a knife, WGN reports. Swoboda told the group, “You come at a police officer with a knife, you’re probably getting shot.”
The police chief defended the use of lethal force in certain cases after 34-year-old Decynthia Clements was fatally shot on Monday by Lt. Christian Jensen, a 19-year veteran of the department.
Swoboda noted that he was not “talking about this case” specifically, and then argued:
“The idea that some people have that I will never be able to change is that if you come at me with a knife, that I need to wrestle it away from you or I need to let you stab me in the chest because I wear a bullet proof vest. That’s not how the real world works. You come at a police officer with a knife, you’re probably getting shot.”
According to WGN, the incident began around 12:30 am Monday, when officers encountered Clements’ vehicle behaving in a “suspicious” manner. A chase ensued, but Clements got away.
Later, police came across her vehicle on the highway. When they saw the woman was armed with a knife, the officers “disengaged immediately” and spent an hour negotiating with her.
During that time, Clements allegedly moved her car up several times. Eventually, police noticed a fire had started inside the vehicle.
Officers tried pulling the woman out, but something happened that resulted in her being shot.
Clements’ son asked why police didn’t taser her instead, WLS reports.
“We believe a taser was on scene, was deployed, but she was also shot,” Swoboda replied.
The chief said the officers were wearing body cameras. He did not say what the footage showed, but stated it is being reviewed as part of the investigation into the incident.
Swoboda later thanked those who offered their opinions at the gathering outside the police station.
Marcus Banner, a community activist, called for an independent review.
“We want an independent authority outside of law enforcement to do the investigation. Somebody who has no skin in the game with community or law enforcement to come look in and look at the facts and call it like it is.”
Lt. Jensen was placed on paid administrative leave per department policy while the probe is conducted.