Gerard seeks review from FBI, independent experts

Gerard seeks review from FBI, independent experts

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois State Police on Tuesday cleared a Champaign police officer after city officials asked for a review of the amount of force he used in a June 5 arrest, but Mayor Don Gerard is rejecting that investigation as “unacceptable.”

State police officials concluded the officer’s actions — primarily the use of pepper spray in subduing the arrestee — were consistent with the local department’s policy. The announcement affirmed the finding made by Champaign police officials following the arrest.

Gerard said his “jaw hit the table” when he read the state police findings.

“We requested a thorough investigation, and what we received was a review of our own investigation,” Gerard said.

According to a news release, the state police based their findings on the Champaign department’s use of force review, which had already cleared the officer.

“Champaign Police Department policy states that the use of OC spray ‘is intended to be used primarily against unarmed subjects who officers reasonably believe hand indicated physically and/or verbally that they intend to resist arrest or assault an officer or another person,’” the news release reads.

State police officials found that, having responded to a report of a fight in progress, the officer was on a routine patrol in Campustown.

“The officer observed a group in the intersection of 4th and Green against the traffic signal, disrupting traffic,” the statement says. “The officer approached the group, and directed the group to relocate. A pedestrian refused the officer’s command and became combative, resisting the officer’s attempt to make an arrest. The officer followed department policy and used the appropriate technique to gain compliance without injury to himself or the suspect taken into custody.”

After a video of the incident came to the attention of city officials, City Manager Steve Carter and State’s Attorney Julia Rietz called for a state police review of the officer’s use of force. On Saturday, Carter said the events he observed in the video were “troubling,” and last week, Rietz dismissed all charges against the arrestee.

Carter said he had questions about the officer’s rationale for the initial stop, the timing of his use of the pepper spray and “other tactics” used in the course of the arrest. He offered no further comment on Tuesday.

“The Champaign Police Department conducted a thorough investigation and based on the findings from the Champaign Police Department’s investigation and the ISP independent review, it has been determined that the officer’s actions were within department guidelines,” state police Region 3 Commander Todd Kilby says in the release.

Gerard said the state police review was not nearly as thorough as he expected, and the city will now seek a review from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and independent experts.

Gerard added that, after the chief of police found the officer’s use of force within department policy and the state police confirmed that finding, maybe it is time to change the rules on the use of pepper spray.

“Perhaps symantically and within the letter,” the officer’s actions may have been consistent with the policy, he said. But Gerard believes that “you can go to 99 officers” in the department who would not have handled the situation that way.

Gerard made his comments shortly before the Champaign City Council convened its Tuesday night meeting, another in a series of weekly gatherings that have been well-attended. During the meeting, Gerard read a prepared city statement expressing officials’ desire for further review.

His reading received applause from the audience.

Seon Williams had come over from another community gathering, and he said he was not sure what to tell the citizens who were at that meeting. That was before the city’s announcement that it would seek a more thorough investigation.

“I think tonight you have made a great gesture,” Williams said.

The Rev. Ervin Williams commended the city.

“I’m just excited by the news and the message that it sends back out to our community,” Ervin Williams said.

W.S. Davis Jr. said the arrestee is staying at his residence now, and his voice broke while he addressed the council.

“He asked a simple question: ‘Why are you arresting me?’” Davis said. “He got pepper-sprayed.”

Earlier Tuesday night, Davis asked the arrestee why he did not jump out of the officer’s car when he was allegedly grabbed around the neck in the back seat.

“His words to me were, ‘I didn’t want to die that night,’” Davis said. “That’s crazy.”

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serf wrote on November 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm

And when the FBI agrees with the ISP, we can call for a congressional investigation.  And when they agree, we can appeal to the United Nations...then to the International Criminal Court in the Hague....then to Star Fleet....Then to Jedi Council...

alumni90 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm

so,.....when ISP's investigation concludes no wrongdoing by the CPD Officer the mayor is upset because the investigation that he requested concluded no wrongdoing by the Officer????  I'm confused,...the mayor is upset because there was/is no wrongdoing?  It sounds like the mayor is dying to hang the Officer regardless of all of these investigations! The mayor knows nothing about the men and women in law enforcement!  Hey, Mr. Mayor,...why don't you have your financial backers at Joe's Brewery do the next investigation!!!

John O'Connor wrote on November 22, 2011 at 11:11 pm

“We requested a thorough investigation, and what we received was a review of our own investigation,” Gerard said.

Shouldn't an independent investigation actually be independent?

ronaldo wrote on November 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm

So the Illinois State Police conducts a review of the CPDs review process and finds that everything was in check.  What's the problem?

This guy's off to a great start.

John O'Connor wrote on November 25, 2011 at 8:11 am

Again, an independent investigation is supposed to be independent. A quick review of CPD's investigation can clearly be neither be thorough or independent. See the problem?

Commonsenseman wrote on November 22, 2011 at 8:11 pm

so...the rules don't apply when an officer follows them and Mayor Gerard wont stand up for them?  Mayor Gerard who is not a police officer and doesnt understand  the policy disagrees with it so he is calling in the FBI adn "independent experts" whos is going ot pay for that Mr. Mayor?  It's pretty clear to see Gerard is soft on crime.  I would bet that  99% of the law abiding citizens in this communit support a strong and effective police department, odds are they wont be reelecting someone soft on crime, welcome to one term Mr. Mayor

increvable wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Will you please tell me at what point the kid did something that justified getting pepper sprayed? We see the entire interaction between the teenager and the officer who maced him. Minutes and seconds, please.

Welcometoreality wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

To all the wannabe lawyers out there......

The criminal was not arrested for jay walking, he was arrested for resisting a peace officer. The Officer does not need to be in a “life threatening situation” to use pepper spray. If it was "life threatening" he would have used his gun. When the criminal raised his hands, in an attempt to get away, he was resisting the Officer, so he was sprayed. He does not need to be resisting an arrest; he just needs to be resisting an Officer doing his job i.e. giving a jay walking ticket. For those can’t grasp what I have said here is the statute for resisting. Know the law before your fingers hit the keyboard.

(720 ILCS 5/31‑1) (from Ch. 38, par. 31‑1)
Sec. 31‑1. Resisting or obstructing a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee.
(a) A person who knowingly resists or obstructs the performance by one known to the person to be a peace officer, firefighter, or correctional institution employee of any authorized act within his official capacity commits a Class A misdemeanor.

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

The video doesn't indicate any of that. The video shows a cop attacking an unarmed man. And Champaign cops have a long history of doing that to black youths -- need I remind you a black kid was shot and killed trying to enter his regular house after school recently? 

This is Illinois, not Alabama. We're suppposed to be better than that.

Commonsenseman wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

this person was trying to enter a home that he stayed at in the past that he did not have permission to enter at a time of day when the resident was not home, the homeowner changed their story a number of times, don't twist the truth

read the DI wrote on November 24, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Obviously that merits shooting and killing the kid, then.

increvable wrote on November 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Good Lord, I'm no lawyer. I'm just trying to understand why this police officer pepper sprayed this kid.

"When the criminal raised his hands, in an attempt to get away..."

Think about what you're saying here. When I'm attempting to get away from something, I usually use my feet. He's not speeding away in a car or running on foot, a la Calvin Miller. Do you mean the teenager's getting out of the officer's grip? Well, yes, I suppose, but the worst you can say is that he's running his mouth and losing his cool. He's not trying to strike the officer, he's not reaching for anything concealed. Why not let him cool off a minute and then tell him why you stopped him?

Furthermore, I just don't get why this even happened in the first place. You say that this officer was just trying to do his job, but the incipient fight or whatever was happening on the sidewalk had already been broken up by the officers on foot and the kid was walking away. Then the officers in the car follow him halfway down the block and stop him for jaywalking? I really don't get it. Maybe the cops on foot asked the cops in the car to stop the kid because they thought he had something illegal on him? That's really the only thing I can think of about why they'd continue to engage instead of rolling away.

Please don't just quote laws. Look at the tape and explain to me what's happening. When I see it, the police officer in the car looks like he's picking a fight.

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

And all this time we thought Mr. Schweighart didn't have a computer. Silly us.

IU1977 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Maybe its time to change the policy, I do not know, but now TWO agencies have stated that the policy with with in limits.  This policy will also need to be changed for ISP/UIPD/UPD/CCSO and every OTHER department in the State as it is the same policy state wide.  But Don knows best-- he is an expert in Police work.  Just ask him.. he has ridden with the cops several times.....

Commonsenseman wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Clearly the video shows a belligerent individual resisting arrest, then he is behaving oodly in the squad car, the officer opens the door to push him down to put his seat belt on and he goes off again.  Clearly at this hour of the morning this fellow was not going to the library, the police made a decsion to be proactive and now the second guessers jump out of the woodwork

read the DI wrote on November 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Norbits was suspended without pay for the shooting. Oh, and an unarmed boy was killed. Seems to me that says all that needs to be said about whether the police acted appropriately.


read the DI wrote on November 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Lookie here: looks like someone showed the cops how to use the Internet.

Citizen972 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

As to the Mayor acting extremly soft on crime and about to be a one term mayor, I Could not possibly agree more!  He is right though, something does need to be done.  He himself needs to know how a police force operates, the rules that govern a police department, their use of force policies in general throughout the nation as a background, Champaign Police Department's use of force policies and the law in general, of which I now know he has not a firm feel for any of those.  I am actually very disappointed in the Mayor's current headhunt for a rogue police officer, when what he should be focusing on, in my opinion, in regards to this issue is how each one of these arrests were in reaction to an individual breaking the law.  That is what police do, they hold us accountable for breaking the law.  As Officer Jolley put it so extremely effectively in the first Champaign City Council meeting dealing with this issue in November of this year, police do not have the option of saying ok... you broke the law, but I do not want to deal with it today.  They have to uphold the law, and with using progressive enforcement they have to and WILL win everytime.  That is their job that WE assign them to do.  The issue of police not acting correctly is being blown out of proportion in stead of telling the criminals that committ these aggregious crimes that they got arrested because they broke the law, this Mayor is furthering their cause which is one of the most obsurd things I have ever witnessed.  This will be a cause for further escalation of this element.  This is not science, but basic... common... human sense.

Mayor Gerard, as you have asked us not to be divisive, I ask you rather than focusing on divisive versus not divisive to please readjust your focus on being proactive on enforcing the law and starting to stifle the beligerent anti-police sentiment throughout this town instead of furthering it and act as a mayor should: pro-law enforcement and be the righteous mayor that everyone wants you to be and elected you to be!  I hope that is not too much, but it has become overwhelmingly frustrating to see the men and women that many of us know and like within the Champaign Police force be treated with utter disrespect to near disrespect at best instead of the utter respect that they deserve and earn every single day they come to work again and again.   I mean this very seriously, how are they going to even want to stay on their job, when they are going to be held negatively accountable for protecting themselves in dangerous situations.  CPD I thank you for the work you do everyday in spite of and especially in light of all of the rediculousness within our oddly politically driven world today.  How frustrating this situation has become.  I guess just keep fighting the fight. 

ajbuckle wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

The police heirarchy says that this officer followed policy.  But, I think what the mayor really wants is for the policy to be less aggressive.  So go after the policy not the cop. 


Bringing in the FBI and trying to destroy this officer is an overreaction, it is mean, and it does not accomplish your goals.

Citizen972 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

I agree with this statement as well as far as going after the policy and not the police officer.  And no, this does not accomplish any goals for any mayor, but for that unpopularity and not getting re-elected.

Bird_Man wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

From the comments on here I'm asking myself are these people watching the same video???  Also the mayor's quote should be I'll find someone to agree with me even if I have to pay them off myself.  Why anyone would want to be a CPD officer is beyond me. 

dogma wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

The young man was shot and killed while he was attempting to run past and through a police officer, not as he was trying to enter a home. It was an accident, not intentional, I never read anything that would indicate the officer had any intent on shooting the young man. Please get your facts straight.  No one, regardless of race, creed or attitude, has the right to walk away from the police when given a order to stop.  Just becasue you do not know why you are being ordered to stop, or agree that  the police have a right to stop you, you must stop.  This individual was arrested for resisting police not for jay walking. Had the young man if this case just stopped and complied, he would not have been maced nor arrested.

Having said that, I did not see the officer give the individual the chance to comply. The kid did not run, nor did he take any evasive actions, he simiply did not stop, and based on the number of people in the area, did he know he was the one who was supposed to stop and come back to the squad car? Even after he was in custody, he did not resist did he? The kid did run his mouth, but did he ever actually resist?  Is if common for the police to exit a squad car with a large canister of pepper spray or was the officer looking for a fight?  Even if one can argue all of that was acceptable, why in the hell did the officer attack an unarmed, handcuffed, individual who was seated safely in the backseat of a squad car.  If the officer felt threatened, close the door?  


Beem wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

Maybe the mayor should have Martel Miller review the incident, and then maybe he will have someone reach the conclusion he wants.

Welcome to phase 1 of Champaign turning into Urbana.

Msmeast1 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 9:11 pm

I just posted something here I guess what I said was against Cpd so it will not post!! COMPLETE BS!!

increvable wrote on November 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Oh, for chrissake, chill out. No one's censoring you. Everyone loses comments sometimes.

thorx wrote on November 22, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Just repost, I've never seen anything sensored here.

lcoil79 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 7:11 am

Oh they censor all the time.  I've had multiple posts about the UofI athletics program removed after they successfully posted, just because it points out the UofI's propensity to recruit criminals and felons.  Just wait, this post itself will probably be removed.

basic2556 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Well, the true colors of the Mayor came out.   He is not a leader but someone who is vindictive when things do not go the way he things they should.   He is acting like a 5 years spoiled kid that cries when he does not get his way.  What were his words, something about letting the process take place?   It did and he did not like it.


Well citizens of Champaign the ball is in your court.  Do you really want someone like this leading the City for the next four years?    Clearly you must take action and have a recall to remove him from office before it gets out of control.   If he is so brazen about this, how his is going to be with other departments such as fire and public works.  He believes that since he was elected Mayor, that  by some magical power is able to make better decisions than those employees who have severed the City year after year through good and bad times.   


Well Mr. Carter what are you going to do now?   Your words joined you at the hip with the Mayor.  How do you stand today?   Not looking so good now is it?    


This is a wakeup call take heed it is your City that will be impacted by his poor decisions and eventually it will cost the City money to pay off the lawsuits waiting to happen because of his irrational thinking.

read the DI wrote on November 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Margie Williams lives.

John O'Connor wrote on November 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

The state cops clearly just reviewed the CPD investigation. What we need here is an independent investigation. I and many others are very thankful we don't still have the former mayor who would do nothing but inflame the situation by refusing to question the actions of this cop, which do not at all seem justified or appropriate.

Police make mistakes. It has been shown time and time again that we cannot trust the police to police themselves. Until we have a functioning review board with real power, we have to rely on outside agencies who will conduct a thorough -- and independent -- investigation.

I'm glad we have a mayor who's willing to stand up to such a concerted and obvious effort to smear him just for doing his job.

read the DI wrote on November 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Agreed. A legitimate, unbiased review is all we're asking for. The kneejerk defense and attacks on the mayor suggests there is something the cops are trying to hide.


read the DI wrote on November 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Norbits was suspended without pay for the shooting. Oh, and an unarmed boy was killed. Seems to me that says all that needs to be said about whether the police acted appropriately.

Speakerman11 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

So let me get this straight:  The use of force policy has come into question because an officer applied it in a way that follows the language of the policy?  Do the inmates run the asylum now here in C-U?  If you dont like mace, there is always the taser option....but Champaign police arent allowed to carry tasers....(Thats another conversation).  The kid was told 3 times to come back over to the officers vehicle and he continued to walk away.  He was told twice to put both hands on the hood; he would not.  Watch his body language as he is standing at the car; he is tensing up and trying to pull away.  This constitutes resisting.

I am sure the ISP will remember the fact that thier 'conclusion wasnt good enough' if they are ever called upon again by Gerard for assistance. Smooth move Mr. Mayor.

John O'Connor wrote on November 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

So, you're claiming that the state cops will take offense at this and refuse service to all of Champagin if requested. You have a pretty low opinion of police if you think they'll withhold service because of this.

Speakerman11 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I dont belive an ISP officer would withhold assistance from a citizen, no, not for a second.  I am of the opinion however that the lead dog from the ISP wont soon forget that his company's time was ultimately wasted because a mayor wasnt satisfied with thier findings and has decided to move up the food chain.  I know I wouldnt soon forget if both the local department and my findings werent adaquate for a newbie on the job.  There is a sense of politics here.  And there will come a time where this will happen again.  Hopefully a lot later rather than sooner.

At the end of the day, it sounds like those who are causing the uproar and stirring the pot in the media and at the council meetings wont be satisfied until they are allowed to get away with whatever they want.  So be the truth in this case, Calvin Miller and Mr. Harrington. 

Conclusion : Do what you are asked to do by an officer of the law.  Comply now, regardless of what your personal opinion is, and then take the time to iron out the issue out.  There is a reason the officer is there at the scene.  Order and direction must be maintained. Simple as that. 

A Very Busy Mom wrote on November 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

Would the mayor have accepted the Illinois State Police's decision if it had gone the other way.  He doesn't get the answer he wants so he has to take it further.


Come on, give me a break.


If you don't like the rules, change the rules - but if you don't like the answer don't keep searching until you get an answer you like.

This is not leadership for the city, this is a witch hunt.

Mr. Gerard, grow a pair and move on.

You are a joke of a mayor and it is coming out in all its glory now.


John O'Connor wrote on November 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

But it wasn't an independent investigation, was it? The state cops just reviewed the CPD investigation. We need an actual independent investigation.

ronaldo wrote on November 24, 2011 at 5:11 pm

And if the ISP found anything incorrect with the CPD review, their report would have stated that.  What the ISP review is saying is that the CPD review was conducted properly and is correct in it's findings.

Not sure what the problem is.

Citizen972 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

Unfortunately, the true Mayor Gerard may be showing his actual head now.  It is truly disappointing as I really had higher hopes.

Who wrote on November 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

The articles states "Gerard believes that “you can go to 99 officers” in the department who would not have handled the situation that way."

Gerard should not make such a statment when he does not support police officers. I seriously doubt he could find 99 officers who would disagree with the way the officer handled this. And I'm certain he cannot find 99 officers who would be supporting him right now after how he is treating this situation.

read the DI wrote on November 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

What "mom" talks like this? How many of these posters are in fact the same person?

parkmymeterelsewhere wrote on November 23, 2011 at 11:11 am

A Champaign City councilman has called the State of Illinois Police report, " a piece of trash".

We need to change our structure of electing officials who receive 90% of 10% of the registered

voters.  When an elected official proclaims himself as the ultimate authoritarian with respect to

publc safety/policing, then our community is totally wacko.  Impeach them all from the city

manager all the way down to the parking garage contractors.

read the DI wrote on November 24, 2011 at 9:11 am

You can't impeach a city manager, copper.

suckerpunch wrote on November 23, 2011 at 1:11 pm

The kid in the cross walk looked startled that the cruiser was right there. The two officers that were in front of the cruiser right before this incident did not seem alarmed about being run over and appeared to be closer to the car. Maybe objects in the camera are closer than they appear…

The young man should step forward so he can receive his jaywalking ticket and then his Mayor/City Manager settlement jackpot!

mclark486 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 2:11 pm

1)  At time 11:07 in the video the officer tells the individuals to step up to his car.   The suspect does NOT stop, but keeps right on walking telling the officer he won't.  In fact, as he is coming back says "You didn't tell me SH** Bro"

2)  He was told to put his hands on the officers Car.  He didn't, and instead put his hands up (No he did not look like he was doing it to hit the officer).

Does that warrant pepper spray - Maybe, maybe not. I wasn't there and videos do not properly convey EVERYTHING. 

I'm not from CU or anywhere near it...  My feelings are why are we focusing MORE on the officer and his actions and LESS on the fact that the suspect had an UTTER disregard for an officer?   I was always brought up, when an officer is talking to you, you don't talk back or get an attitude.  The suspect was being beligerant and DID do something wrong...  He Jaywalked.   What happened after the fact was COMPLETLY in his hands, he chose to make a bad decision.   He was NOT physically harmed and the effects of peper spray GO AWAY in 60 minutes (sometimes longer in some circumstances)

Why is it EVERYONE thinks that they have the right to act however they want - and never risk any consequences...

I DO have a problem with the officer jumping on the suspect while he was in the car though.  I don't see anything justifying that - But that isn't part of why everyone is up in arms. 

Just my 2 cents.

read the DI wrote on November 23, 2011 at 4:11 pm

Comment field is required.

jmgarrett26 wrote on November 24, 2011 at 7:11 am

Huh,my post was removed or lost. All the person had to do is what he was told and this could ha,ve all been avoided. If this happened at fourth and green where the Uof I police,would we be having the same disscusion. I have lived in this town my whole life and had a Aunt on the city council untill her death,she was even deputy Mayor until her death. The police are there to protect EVERYONE if this person was not following directions and the officer felt threatened then who are we to decide what was the proper action. It sounds to me that the mayor is already running for re-election. If we continue to try and over police are police we will never get or retain quality officers.

read the DI wrote on November 24, 2011 at 9:11 am

We already DON'T have quality officers. How much worse could it get if we were to enforce, you know, some rules for behavior?


A Very Busy Mom wrote on November 25, 2011 at 12:11 pm

As a a life long Champaign citizen, I totally support the Champaign Police.  I have seen them handle situations that no one wants to, but do because they chose to be police officers. 

Men and women become police officers for a reason, and there are many reasons, but I be none of them became police officers to be harrassed and ridiculed on a daily basis.

I appreciate the fact that if I have a need to call the police, I know that they will show up and handle the situation in the best way they can; but I also know that if I am out there and I break the law that they will be out there also.  So, i try to obey the laws, and show respect to the police if they question me about anything.  Yes, I have been stopped for speeding and yes I have gotten a ticket - I knew that I was speeding and I chose to drive that speed so therefore I deserved the ticket.

I feel sympathetic to any Champaign Police Officer right now, NOTHING they do is good enough for some citizens.  They are either too strict or too lenient - there is no winning this war for them.

Parents need to teach their children to respect the laws and the people who enforce them - and if you do something wrong expect that there will be consequences.  If you don't break the laws there would be no need for any of these responses.

Good luck to the Champaign Police, the leadership of this city and its citizens as we seem to be headed into really rough waters.

read the DI wrote on November 25, 2011 at 8:11 pm

Talk about muddying the waters. The consequences are to be decided by a judge or jury, not the police. That's what the court system is for, lady.


And we'll see how far you take that argument if that was your kid who was being targeted, harrassed, arrested, beaten, and perhaps killed, all while after being stopped while committing a nonviolent violation.

Trojan wrote on November 28, 2011 at 11:11 am

There are too many conflicts of interest in C-U police/law enforcement area.

Do not forget that your own State's Attorney has a police officer as a husband. Isn't that a direct violation of conflict of interests rule?

I can see why the need of true "independent investigation" is needed.

skiparoo wrote on December 06, 2011 at 10:12 am

kind of like obama investigating obama when he bought off specter's pa.  senate seat; just like blago tried to do-----justus poor people.