Champaign mayor urges against 'divisive action or words'

CHAMPAIGN — Mayor Don Gerard on Monday called for the community to act "responsibly" following the city's announcement this weekend that the Illinois State Police will be investigating a June 5 arrest in which a Champaign police officer may have used an excessive amount of force.

He said he believes City Manager Steve Carter and State's Attorney Julia Rietz took the appropriate steps in calling for an independent investigation, and he hopes all involved "respect the process."

In his written statement, Gerard says this is "not a time for divisive action or words."

"This is a critical moment for our City," Gerard said in the prepared statement. "We must all be accountable and willing to devote ourselves to work together. This is a time to strive for unity."

The events come not long after a debate about an October arrest precipitated tense moments between audience members and representatives during city council meetings, which have been well-attended in the weeks since. After the city posted video of the Oct. 24 arrest, some specific claims from community activists about police actions during that arrest were disproved.

But for the June 5 arrest, video footage is having the opposite effect.

"As soon as I saw the video (of the arrest), I was upset and said, 'Something needs to be done about this,'" Gerard told The News-Gazette on Monday.

On Saturday, City Manager Steve Carter said the events in the video of the June 5 arrest were "troubling," particularly "the thinking behind the initial stop and the use of pepper spray, the timing on that and some of the tactics used during the course of the arrest," Carter said.

He added that the investigation into an official complaint filed by the arrestee may not have been complete.

Last week, Rietz dismissed all charges related to the June 5 arrest.

Gerard said the investigation into the arrest and the complaint process is now, appropriately, in the hands of independent experts.

"I would like for both city staff, for police officers and the community to all step up and act responsibly," he said on Monday.

He also asked that the community respect the family's privacy.

"The family has requested this doesn't become a circus. The family has pleaded," Gerard said. "I hope the community respects that and they respect the process."

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Commonsenseman wrote on November 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

"I would like for both city staff, for police officers and the community to all step up and act responsibly,"  this statement by Mayor Gerard is insulting and divisive.  It insults the police officers who risk their lives to keep the community safe to suggest they need to "act responsibly"  Mayor Gerard should lead this community in supporting CPD and not jump to conclusions, he should stand up against the small nmber of vocal troublemakers rather than acquiesce to their demands.  The video shows out of control people resisting and being arrested, everyone who lives in this community has seen this kind of behavior from the young people of today, we need to give these officers the support they deserve, we all know about the criminal behavior of todays youth, when will people wake up and help the police stop them.  Given what I've seen /heard so far anytime anyone defends the police they are being "divisve" wheras the attackers are just expressing themselves, the double standard continues

read the DI wrote on November 22, 2011 at 10:11 am

You must have been watching a different video. That the cops sometimes are in threatening situations is a straw man. You can't use that as an excuse everytime some no-neck in blue wants to bash some skulls.

Furthermore, there are always folks like you who have offer a kneejerk defense of the cops. I would suggest you keep YOUR opinions to yourself, lest you find yourself on the wrong side of that "insulting and divisive" line.

 

stoptryingjustifythis wrote on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

You and I must have watched the same video! I don't know what video the guy above watched! Clearly the cops actions where unnecessary!  

A Very Busy Mom wrote on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

I know that some are unhappy with the Champaign Police Department, but I am so thankful that they are there for us every day.

They miss holidays and birthdays and special occasions to protect us.

I am not sure that I would want a job that videotapes my every movement and then second guesses what has happened.  They risk their lives despite all the condemnation that they receive.

We definitely see more articles against them than thanking them for what they do.  The squeaky wheel gets the oil and the press time in this community.

So, while I sit at my desk safely working, a big thank you to all the police who serve and protect us -  even when it isn't easy or convenient.

 

Champaign Co. Firecracker wrote on November 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

They miss special ocassions because thats the job they signed up for. We thank them with our tax dollars. I think that is sufficient.

read the DI wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

+1.

The Real Luke wrote on November 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

Police do provide a service that is an essential part of a civilized society.

 

That doesn't mean, though, that the police get to spray college students in the mouth with pepper spray for no reason, or slam people's heads into the hoods of patrol cars just because they feel like it.  I thought that this was kind of thing that the police were supposed to protect us from, rather than thekind of thing the police were supposed to perpetrate -- and if they can do it to that student, they can do it to me.  Allowing police to behave like the officer in the video would be uncivilized.

IU1977 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

I for one will await the Mayor and the Council and their praise for the officer who risked their lives when the MPM shooting took place.  The Mayor and the rest of the Council are quick to complain about the police, but are reluctant to show any type of respect or admiration of them when they risk their lives to protect the rest of us.  I for one cannot wait for the FOIA to come out to see what they really think during the council meetings. 

The Real Luke wrote on November 30, 2011 at 11:11 am

I get a private "good job" from my boss when I do my job.  I would, however, be summarily fired if I pepper sprayed a student in the face for no reason and then slammed his face into the hood of a car.  Why, exactly, should the police be held to a different standard?!?

basic2556 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 am

Mayor Don Gerald called for the community to act "responsibly following the city's announcement this weekend that the Illinois State Police will be investigation a June 5 arrest in which a Champaign police officer may have used excessive amount of force.  He also stated he hope all involved “respect the process"

 

Will, Mr. Mayor, I guess the ALL does not include you or the City Manager.  When you make statements “As soon as I saw the video (of the arrest) I was upset and said,” Something needs to be done about this"   You really set the stage for fairness and "respect of the process".  There is nothing wrong to call for an outside investigation but it should not be cloaked because you were upset.  Maybe it would have read better “Due to the strong public view and this on-going controversy”. No wonder the Police are angry, you have already made your decision that what happened was wrong otherwise you would have not said what you did.    Maybe they did not cover how to respond responsibility to the media in your Mayor 101 class.

Mr. Carter you of all people know that words can do more to keep things stirred up.  Again, there go the fairness issue,  it is your job to keep things under control not give your opinion,  unless you were there and saw every part of the incident.  

I do not know who is right or wrong but I do know that if you are asking others to “respect the process” you should follow the same advice.  Both of your statements show a negative response.  No one is asking you to support one way or the other, but you both should remain neutral until the process is completed and then respond accordingly.   No wonder Champaign has so many controversies, there leaders bring it on themselves.

During these trying times we need leaders not politicians.

Basic2556  

 

billbtri5 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

we all should be grateful , if the police have time for 2 officers to take someone to jail for jaywalking, that means all the other issues like gangs, drugs, violent crimes of all manner, alcohol abuse,  have been taken care of...and from now on, forget that Constitution stuff, the police are in charge, just do what they say....

Commonsenseman wrote on November 22, 2011 at 12:11 pm

by stopping criminals for small crimes, like jaywalking, petty theft and turnstyle jumping, NYC was able to reduce their crime rate, sometimes they know someone is up to something, you dont know the history and the behavior of the suspect, maybe you should thank the police for keeping criminals off the street

Champaign Co. Firecracker wrote on November 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm

Use your common sense and stop trying to justify the conduct of this officer. We have good Police Officers in Champaign, but this guy is obvioulsy a part of the small group of criminal cops that we have; Don't believe me, pay attention to the rank and file officials of Champaign County who named this officers conduct "troubling, disturbing, and worthy of independent investigations". This happens all the time, this the boys in blue just got busted. Accept it!!!!!

Commonsenseman wrote on November 22, 2011 at 2:11 pm

the police appear to be winning the war on campus attacks/robberies in campustown with their proactive tactics and now the mayor wants to help their critics?  the problem isnt with the cops in this community its with the publicity the criminals get that assists them with their lawbreaking activities

read the DI wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Yeah, NYC is real safe. Real safe.

IU1977 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 4:11 pm

"Every society gets the kind of criminal it deserves. What is equally true is that every community gets the kind of law enforcement it insists on."   - Robert Kennedy
 


 


Thank you Mr. Mayor and council for allowing the criminal element to run the police department into the ground.  Only took you what.... 6 months to do so, but it is clear that you and the rest of council are no friends of the police department.

read the DI wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

If jaywalking = criminal element, then all of Campustown should be locked up.

 

(Oh yeah, and RFK was in cahoots with the mob. Read up on your Bay of Pigs history sometime. I guess he got what HE insisted on.)