Authorities on Thursday released graphic bodycam and dashcam video showing the fatal police shooting of a woman on Interstate 90 in Chicago's northwest suburbs.
The release included 30 hours of footage showing the moments leading up to 34-year-old Decynthia Clements' death along with the moment she was shot by police during the early morning hours of March 12. Eighteen minutes of that footage was shown during a press conference by police Thursday afternoon.
“We understand very well that this incident has impacted our community,” said Elgin Chief of Police Jeff Swoboda. “We also understand that releasing this video footage, which can be very troubling to view, is one step we can take towards transparency and accountability.”
Around 12:34 a.m. the day of the shooting, officers made contact with a "suspicious vehicle" in the area of Cedar Avenue in Elgin, according to Swoboda.
During the encounter, Clements fled the scene in her vehicle, Swoboda said. Officers then attempted pull the car over, but the driver did not stop and they terminated the pursuit, according to police.
Video of the chase was released as part of the footage Thursday.
The vehicle was then located with "obvious signs of damage" on westbound I-90 near Route 25, Swoboda said.
"Elgin officers made contact with the subject and observed that she was armed with a knife," Swoboda said.
"Officers then disengaged immediately and proceeded to negotiate with her for over an hour. During that time she would periodically move her car up several feet," he continued.
Video footage showed officers shouting, “Cynthia, this is the Elgin Police Department, you are under arrest, exit your vehicle with your hands up,” multiple times.
"At one point officers noticed that a fire had started inside the vehicle," Swoboda said. "They approached the burning vehicle in an attempt to pull her out. There was an exchange, and that’s the part that state police will be investigating what occurred, that then the officer discharged their firearm, striking the female."
The video footage released Thursday showed Clements exiting the smoke-filled burning vehicle with what appeared to be a shiny object in her hand. An officer can be heard in bodycam footage stating the object appeared to be a steak knife.
Seconds later, multiple shots were fired by police.
Clements, of the first block of North Aldine Street in Elgin, was taken to St. Alexius Medical Center in Hoffman Estates where she was pronounced dead, according to Elgin police and the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.
Clements' father and brother said they "want answers at to what happened" in the shooting.
"It was like murder watching that video," her father Charles Clements said.
I-90 was closed in both directions in Elgin for several hours that day, according to Illinois State Police, the agency conducting the investigation into the shooting.
One officer was placed on paid administrative leave in accordance with department policy, Elgin police said. The investigation remains ongoing.