When I said the City of Elgin, Illinois, was approaching the inevitable reinstatement of police Lieutenant Chris Jensen like it was a bad SNL Stuart Smalley skit, I thought I was joking, but it turns out I was prescient.
A listening session? What’s next? A spa day?
If I was the conspiratorial type, I’d swear there has to be some Elgin city staffer who simply sits around thinking, “How can I give Jeff Ward another easy 800 words this week?” If that person really does exist, I want to thank them for coming up with “a listening session.”
What’s next? A group hug?
Yes! In an effort to further humiliate and waste yet more Elgin Police Department command staff time, this time, the City held a Saturday listening session at Elgin Community College in which Chief Ana Lalley, Commander Colin Fleury, City Manager Rick Kozal, and Community Engagement Specialist Bob Whitt listened to the same 25 people say the same thing about the Decynthia Clements shooting – unimpeded – for two bleepin’ long hours.
That has to be the definition of cruel and unusual punishment.
Of course, 95 percent of the speakers, including the same tired pastors who have no clue what it means to be Christian, rambled on endlessly about how, despite the lack of any quantifiable legal justification, Lt. Chris Jensen should be fired just because they think he should be fired.
“Consultant” Craig Mallett told reporters “Listening sessions allow the healing process to begin.” Perhaps if we were talking about Ferguson, Missouri, where racial tensions simmered for decades, he might be right, but it’s only making the Elgin situation so much worse.
Despite what some overly vocal “activists” would have you believe, Elgin, a city where Caucasians are the minority, does pretty well in the race relations regard. That’s why only 25 people showed up to “a listening session.”
What’s next? A slumber party?
Per the previously discussed late NFL coach Bill Walsh’s postulate, all these insipidly eternal forums do is provide the anti-Jensen folk with the kind of megaphone that belies their miniscule numbers as the press picks up their negative narrative up – again – allowing them to “infect” the 80 percent of residents who are generally happy with the City.
This utter lack of any leadership whatsoever is beyond astounding.
Mallette acknowledged the “community fatigue” over the shooting debate, but added that “the session was a valuable tool in the process of figuring out what community themes, such as questions around racism, implicit bias, police legitimacy and justice, city official need to address moving forward.”
Every time I try to picture Mr. Mallette, all is see is a guy in blue cardigan sweater with a silly blond toupee repeating “I’m good enough, smart enough, and doggone it! People like me!” The only value this charade added was to his firm’s bottom line.
Did I mention that only 25 people showed up?
They probably shouldn’t have bothered to rent an entire auditorium. How “valuable” can yet another whining assembly be when just .02 percent of the Elgin Populace shows up, and most of those were Ms. Clements’ family and local pastors?
So, it’s official! Elgin has finally become the equivalent an overindulgent Geneva, Illinois, toddler parent who gives their kid everything they want in an effort to become their best friend. Then they have the nerve to wonder why the temper tantrums only get worse.
The only one who’s shown any cojones in this regard is former Police Chief Jeff Swoboda who personally met with protestors in front of the police station days after the shooting. That simple act did more to resolve the situation than anything since.
But Elgin continues to undo all that good will and the level of City Hall incompetence surrounding the eternal Jensen saga is truly terrifying. Trust me, I will be issuing a FOIA request shortly to determine how much money the City has already wasted on this latest “consulting firm.”
You’d think they would’ve sworn off that kind of thing after the diversity debacles.
Chief Lalley! If you haven’t already, please start that job search. No gig is worth having to deal with this kind of relentless bovine manure.
Meanwhile, I’ll say it again! Three separate independent agencies concluded that Lt. Jensen committed no criminal act and violated no major EPD policy. That means he’s coming back, end of story. And if Elgin continues to attempt to placate a minority of residents who refuse to be placated, the next racial incident – and there will be a next one in a city that size – will make this one look like an early autumn stroll in Wing Park.
A “listening session?” What’s next? Karaoke night?
Save the Date Part II
I have to say, it was somewhat strange being in a courtroom and not being the defendant. I suppose I’ll have get used to it. But here’s how the lawsuit against the Kane County State’s Attorney will play out:
October 21 – Opposing counsel submits his brief
November 4 – I submit my response to that brief, if I choose to do so
November 6 – The hearing (bench trial) at 1 p.m. in courtroom 116 in Yorkville, Illinois
To clarify a previous misstatement, attorney Pat Kinnally is not defending this lawsuit as a partner in his law firm. Much like it was when he was the Kane County Board’s attorney, He’s been sworn in as a deputy assistant states attorney and is essentially handling this on his own.
My contention that it was being handled by an outside attorney stands, but if I gave the impression that the KCSAO hired his law firm, that would be inaccurate.