ELGIN, Ill. — Police have released video of a standoff on an Illinois highway that ended with a 34-year-old woman dead.
CBS Chicago reports an officer shot and killed DeCynthia Clements on March 12 after she allegedly fled a traffic stop, and then stopped her SUV on the Jane Addams Tollway in Elgin, about 40 miles northwest of Chicago.
The 20-minute video ends with police yelling at Clements to drop a knife, before three shots are fired, fatally wounding her.
The video begins with a police pursuit that is then aborted. The video resumes when officers find her car pulled onto the shoulder with significant damage. They are seen repeatedly trying to convince Clements to get out of the car, but she attempts to drive away several times.
WARNING: Disturbing video
In the video released Thursday, Elgin Police Chief Jeffrey Swoboda said his officers attempted to resolve the situation peacefully for about an hour before the fatal shooting. Officers in the video are seen shutting down lanes of traffic, talking about concerns that Clements was suicidal and discussing plans to use rubber bullets and a Taser should she threaten them.
Clements at one point apparently lights a fire in her car, causing officers to approach. They order her to come out and hold her hands up. Clements can then be seen running out of the burning car, holding a knife in her hand.
That’s when an officer opens fire. Clements was transported to the hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Swodoba said he hasn’t spoken to the officer who fired at Clements, and doesn’t know why he didn’t use the less-lethal tactics. He said the Indiana State Police is conducting the investigation.
Police first showed the video to Clements’ family and their attorneys, who have said they plan to file a lawsuit, before releasing it publicly Thursday afternoon.
Her family described her as a “loving, caring mom,” reports CBS Chicago. They also said she was very small, and not a threat to officers trained in deadly force and equipped with shields and body armor.
“The video of the fatal shooting of DeCynthia Clements released today by the Elgin Police Department raises questions about the unnecessary use of deadly force by an Elgin Police Officer,” Antonio Romanucci, the Clements’ lawyer, said in a statement released to the station. “This situation did not have to escalate to such a degree that cost a young woman her life. As we move forward with this lawsuit, those responsible for DeCynthia’s death must be held accountable.”