Police union comments on video about June arrest by Champaign officer

Police union comments on video about June arrest by Champaign officer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Recently, a video depicting a Champaign Police Officer making an arrest was released to City Council members. Somehow, copies of that video made it into the hands of persons outside of the City Council and as a result, snippets from the video have been shown on the news and even on the Internet.


The Union is deeply dismayed that some members of the public, the City Manager and even the Mayor have publicly stated or suggested that the officer’s actions were improper. These individuals have absolutely no police or use of force training, and base their opinions on a snippet of a video that was actually nearly an hour long.

The officer in question gave the subject lawful commands and instructions yet the subject chose to ignore them. A citizen does not have the right to ignore the lawful order of a police officer or to choose which officer he or she wishes to deal with.

Ultimately, the officer had to use force. By law and department policy, use of force mechanisms are intended to inflict pain in order to gain compliance and control. While use of force scenarios may not be pleasant to watch, that does not make them inappropriate. Tools such as pepper spray are given to officers in order to ensure the safety of officers and the citizenry.

The use of pepper spray in this matter, as well as the other actions taken to control the subject, were within department policy and the law. The subject was resisting with enough force to cause a serious injury to one of the other officer’s on the scene.

Under the law, an officer’s use of force can be judged only by looking at the TOTALITY of circumstances that the officer faced when he used force. The snapshots of the video which are being shown do not depict the totality of circumstances that the officer in question faced. So to judge that officer solely on a video snippet is contrary to the law and department policy regarding use of force.

Further, such unsubstantiated and negative opinions are irresponsible. These public statements fuel the fire of some citizens who regularly scrutinize and criticize the professional men and women who serve on the Champaign Police Department.

An internal investigation has already determined that the officer’s actions were within the law and department policy. The City Manager requested that the Illinois State Police conduct an investigation. The State’s Attorney declined to pursue its own investigation but concurred with the request. The Union is confident that an investigation by the Illinois State Police will also show that the officer committed no wrongdoing. Until then, publicly criticizing the officer only serves to divide the community and demoralize a professional and nationally recognized police department.

Tamara Cummings

General Counsel, IFOP Labor Council

Comments

News-Gazette.com embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

sprk1 wrote on November 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

The claim that the force used was necessary to restrain the subject is complete and total BS!!! The subject was cuffed and in the back seat, the only thing the officer needed to do at this point is to shut the car door and take the subject to jail. Instead this officer became infuriated by what the subject was saying, lost his temper and leapt on and choked a man who was already restrained. Then he yanked the subject out of the car and pepper sprayed him and it was at that point that the other officer was "injured" Had this officer followed procedure, shut the door and headed to jail, then no one would have been "injured"  For the union to say that what this officer did was acceptable and within departmental guidlines is an outright lie!!!!

Statements like the one above make all unions and all union members look bad. In this instance the union is going to the extreme of outright lying to protect someone who's actions are unexcusable and who clearly does not have the temprament to be a police officer. Instead of lying and protecting him they should kick him out of the union and say that the FOP does not endorse this behavior and they do not want officers like this out on the street. Statements like this are exactly why there is a general mistrust of police. They protect the ones who tarnish the reputation of the entire group, then they wonder why the public doesn't trust the police.

Yatiri wrote on November 23, 2011 at 1:11 am

What is the Union's position on a review board with civilian participation?  

Why is it always the CPD in the news, Urbana and the U of I don't seem to have the same issues?

increvable wrote on November 22, 2011 at 7:11 pm

Here's the whole video. Will someone please tell me at what point this kid gave any indication that he might "cause a serious injury" to the officer? 

http://vimeo.com/32464029

Yes, he was running his mouth. Last I checked, that was no reason to get pepper sprayed in the face (11:25). Furthermore, what was the policeman doing with the second spray (11:30)? At what point did the policeman tell the kid why he was stopping him?

And for the record, I am not reflexively anti-police. I try to judge each situation on its merits. Calvin Miller, for example, was clearly in the wrong.  The fact that the state's attorney released those dashboard cams a few weeks later, while this one had to be leaked months after the fact, makes me think that we only see these videos when it's to the police's advantage. 

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

Irresponsible?  The police union is the irresponsible party here.  What that police officer did in that video to that man was nothing short of torture.  He pepper sprayed him without any warning of an impending arrest.  Which is probably why the resisting arrest charges were dropped…no arrest, therefore not possible to resist something that doesn’t exist.  That police officer is nothing more than a bully.  He had some authority, and used it to his advantage.  There were two police officers walking behind the man victimized in the video.  Why was this officer stalking him?  Why did he harass him when his intent appeared to be to cite him for jay walking?  Is it a big secret to this guy that there are LOTS of people jay walking on campus?

 

The actions of the Campaign police department are reminiscent of the Cathloic Church in the way that they shield  a person violating another.  Didn’t the public in general say they didn’t like this practice?  I am also remided of the pictures form the civil rights struggle or the general practice of slavery here in the US back in the 1800’s.  While the actions were legal and the perpatrators were not violating any laws, it was still wrong…PERIOD!  For the union, the police department, and the City of Champaign to hide behind the excuse of “within department policy and the law” is nothing short of cowardice.

 

Have you ever read what it says on the back of a Champign Police cruiser?  “Service with pride.”

What a JOKE!  I am not proud of the way that man was “serviced.”  That man hasno place on ANY Police force ANYWHERE (former Soviet Police excepted).  If the officer was charged with protecting the citizenry, then shouldn’t he protect his prisoners (legal or not) in the backseat of his cruiser?  I saw PLAIN AS DAY a man lunge at the handcuffed victim in the back seat and initiate a chokie hold.  Would that not be a charge of attempted murder of a peace officer had the situation been reversed?  Attempted murder is ATTEMPTED MURDER.

 

I am glad I do not live in Champaign because I would do everything  possible to guarantee this officer would not be prowling the streets looking for his next victim.  Send this guy on his way.  Any action taken to defend him will only serve to prove, in the publics eye anyway, that the City of Champign is a safe place to be....unless you get stopped by one of their “thugs.” (placed in quotes to express  a growing opinion of the populace).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Los Ramos son Malos wrote on November 23, 2011 at 12:11 am

And where exactly does the choking come in? Why was it necessary for this young man to be choked?! Also, once he's hundcuffed, why was it necessary to spray him? What law allows the officer to do those things? BTW, I wonder if this guy would have even been touched if he were White?! I bet not!

Yatiri wrote on November 23, 2011 at 2:11 am

I watched the video.  The young man resisted at the very start.  He was confrontational and not compliant.  Once a cop puts a hand on you you can't pull away like that, so the he got pepper sprayed.  He continues "jaw jacking" which the police hate, he raises his voice which the police hate, they want you to act submissive and very respectful.  If you raise your voice and use profanity police usually pepper spray you first, then go on to pressure points, and finally taser and baton.  It is very unwise to continue to be confrontational once they begin using force.

The young man probably didn't get even worse treatment because of the video recording.  After the choking he finally realized that police and jailers can do whatever they want to you once arrested. He is lucky he didn't get tazed and really hurt.  Once the police starts using force it is best to become totally compliant, silent, submissive, respectful, bowed head.  He probably was never detained by the police before and didn't know better.  Hopefully he behaved better at the jail given the Champaign County Jail's reputation.

 

 

lcoil79 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 8:11 am

Just because they want you to be submissive and they hate certain things, does not give the officer a legal right to attack a restrained prsinor in the back seat of their car. 

I'm all for support the police in what they do.  I supported the CPD's actions when a juvenile delinquent was shot accidentally while attempting to leave the scene of a crime when he resisted the officer's attempts to keep him there and a brawl broke out.  I supported the CPD when they were unjustly accused of ramming a car from behind and beating the driver when none of that happened.  I however refuse to support CPD when they choke/beat a helpless restrained prisoner in the back seat of their car, and yes, mouthiness is still helpless when they can't even raise their arms to protect themselves.

 

sprk1 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

Ok mr/mrs. wanna be lawyer. What about his 4th amendment right to be free from search and seizure without probable cause? If you listened to the video then you know that this officer had no reason to believe that this young man had committed any crime and the officer/department has never said that he was in the process of committing a crime or was believed to have committed a crime when he was stopped.

"there is someone on the sidewalk over there I'm gonna go see who he is"

The key words in the statute you posted "any authorized act within his official capacity"

This officer was operating outside the boundaries of his official capacity when he detained this young man without probable cause to believe that he had committed or was committing a crime. Had this officer operated within his official capacity he never would have obstructed this young man from walking down the sidewalk and this event never would have happened. Therefore the charge of "resisting" is null and void and that is why it was dropped. How do you resist arrest when there is no legal basis for arrest???? Refusing to talk to a police office is a RIGHT it is not obstruction. 

Even if the stop had been legal (which it wasn't) the kid had every right to ask questions and nothing gives the police the right to arrest someone because they don't like what he/she is saying. 

Let's set aside whether or not the arrest was legal and move on to an equally important fact. The young man was cuffed and in the back of the squad car. The officers next step should have been to shut the car door and drive him to jail. The officer chose not to do that, instead he lost his temper and jumped on top of somoene who was already detained and began choking him, then he yanked him out of the car to pepper spray him. Even if the arrest was valid when the officer chose to physically assault the young man instead of shutting the door and taking him to jail, he crossed a line and that line carries with it criminal consequenses. 

Either way you look at this the officer was wrong.

 

 

 

 

 

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

Officers only need "reasonable suspicion" to briefly detain you and search your clothing.  Reasonable suspicion can even be a "hunch" or just about anything for practical purposes. Probable cause is needed for arrest and yes there was no probable cause for arrest.  That doesn't mean that police can't detain you, search your clothing, and interrogate you briefly.  If you resist, run, pretend you didn't hear them (the young man knew the police wanted him to stop, he kept walking away) then it is resisting lawful police orders.

Personally I think probable cause ought to be the law even for briefly detaining somebody and searching outer clothing for weapons.  As it stands now police can arbitrarily detain and hassle anybody they want legally.

4th Amendment wrote on November 23, 2011 at 10:11 am

Reasonable suspicion cannot be just a "hunch." Police cannot detain you unlawfully. They can interrogate, but you have the right to remain silent. You shall not be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against yourself. They can search your pockets for "officer's safety." But as we can see, probable cause is the law:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Let's not forget amendments six (denied council), eight (cruel and unusual punishment), and probably fourteen (due process).

Let's say it loud enough so that all the police in the city can hear: YOU CANNOT ARREST SOMEONE FOR RESISTING ARREST!!!

freechampaign wrote on November 24, 2011 at 1:11 am

Yep you are right. That is why there is no such statute in Illinois. It is called resisting / obstructing a peace officer. Get the charge right before you blast the cops

ROB McCOLLEY wrote on November 23, 2011 at 7:11 am
Profile Picture

I don't understand why the union continues to stick its neck out for -- or perhaps I should say "step in" -- these matters.

 

Memo to police union: Police violence is bad PR for police.

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

This man wasnt choked, he was subdued so the officer could transport him, as for police violence, next time these out of control young people with no repect harass or threaten you, you'll wish the police were there to control them

lcoil79 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

Watch the video again.  Around the 16 minute mark the officer is seen entering the car, pushing the prisoner down with his hands around his neck, this is an action called choking.  Now, it only lasted a few seconds so it's not like the prisoner was being killed, but he WAS assaulted by an officer through choking.  He had no reason to believe the officer wasn't going to continue choking him til he passed out, it didn't happen, but the officer still choked him.

lcoil79 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

Watch the video again.  Around the 16 minute mark the officer is seen entering the car, pushing the prisoner down with his hands around his neck, this is an action called choking.  Now, it only lasted a few seconds so it's not like the prisoner was being killed, but he WAS assaulted by an officer through choking.  He had no reason to believe the officer wasn't going to continue choking him til he passed out, it didn't happen, but the officer still choked him.

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

I watched the video, I saw no choking, I saw someone screaming they were being choked acting like a drama queen looking for attention, I saw someone who was probalby involved in a fight in campustown, I saw officers being proactive and monitor the situation, I saw someone commit  the crime of jaywalking, that same person became hostile and threatening in their mannerisms, they refused to comply with an officers lawful request, they resisted arrest, they refused to comply with the offier when in the  squadcar,  an officer had to control them to put a seatbelt on him, he opened the door to control the violent suspect and then withdrew to reasess the situation at no ttime did I see anybody "choked"

ClearVision wrote on November 30, 2011 at 8:11 am

You're right. We saw no choking. We heard somebody say "you're choking me." If a person was actually being choked s/he wouldn't be able to yell anything at all. Choking deprives one not only of access to air but the ability to speak, let alone yell anything. Too many people jumping to conclusions, as usual.

 

 

sprk1 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 9:11 am

I am disturbed by the comments that suggest we should submit to police when our rights are being violated and that it's ok for a police officer to put his hands on someone anytime they feel like it and if they do put their hands on you without cause you should just shut up and take it. This is America we have laws and rights, if we lived in Nazi Germany I would have no choice but to agree with you, but that just isn't the case.

As far as the police protecting anyone other than themselves? that is a joke. when there were a series of break in's in my neighboorhood the police told us to stop calling because "we don't have time for this sh** " During the next break in police were called and never responded, on another date my neighboor caught the suspect in his living room and chased him in the back yard and tackled him. when the police showed up they refused to go into the back yard stating "we have more important things to do" and they promptly left and the suspect eventually fought his way free. If you want protection don't call the police because they will harass you and try to arrest you for interrupting their doughnut and coffee, I have experienced it to many times and do not call police for ANY reason.

ClearVision wrote on November 30, 2011 at 9:11 am

Mike Godwin, where are you? Sprk1 thinks The Holocaust is happening again, this time in Champaign.

sprk1 wrote on November 23, 2011 at 12:11 pm

Yatiri, you are incorrect. As the person "fourthamendment" states below, police are REQUIRED to have probable cause to believe that a person is committing a crime or has committed a crime before lawfully detaining them. If a police officer say's "hey I want to talk to you" you are under NO legal obligation to speak to them. If they have evidence beyond a "hunch" that leads them to believe that you have committed a crime they do have the right to arrest you and take you to jail. Disobeying a police command to stop when they want to talk to you just to find out who you are as this cop did is not a violation of the law and is not grounds to arrest, detain and assault a person. This has been reinforced time and agin in our federal court system. A hunch does not meet requirements for seach and/or seizure.

By your definition a police officer can kick in your door, search your house, or detain you for no real reason anytime he or she feels like it and all they have to say is "I had a hunch" and that makes it perfectly legal? Thankfully the law say's something quite different.  I'm sure in some police officers fantasy that is the way it is, but this is America and though our police often do exactly what I described above, they are doing it illegally and banking on the fact that the majority of the public doesnt have the will or financial resources to launch an expensive civil rights lawsuit. 

The fourth amendment was put into place to make acting on soley "a hunch" illegal and it was done for good reason.

I think it's sad that police officers are dishonestly commenting on this story, or having friends comment and attempting to twist the law to convince the public that they have authority that they clearly do not have.

The fact they are making comments of this nature is just one more example of how out of control our police have become.

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

this persons behavior sugestet that he was up to no good, officers probalby knew what he was up to but  couldnt prove it , when he jaywalked he gave them the legal opportunity to arrest him and investigate further, his hostile behavior was unusual and unexpected from what a normal citizen would do, if he wanted to invoke his rights he could have given them identifying information and elected to remain silent, instead he resisted arrest, no "hunch" is required here, the man clearly committed a crime and resisted arrest, young people from this community commonly prey upon people downtown and on campus, groups of them beat or rob older adults and drunk students, the police are just doing their job by  addressing this problem  stop interfering or move to Urbana

John O'Connor wrote on November 23, 2011 at 8:11 pm

this persons behavior sugestet that he was up to no good, officers probalby knew what he was up to but couldnt prove it , when he jaywalked he gave them the legal opportunity to arrest him and investigate further

Um, you understand that that's the exact definition of a 'hunch,' right?

amf wrote on November 23, 2011 at 3:11 pm

"this persons behavior sugestet that he was up to no good, officers probalby knew what he was up to but  couldnt prove it ,"

 

Could you explain what you mean by this?  What behavior are you referring to?  What do you think officers believe he was "up to", and what reasons do you think they had for believing he was up to something no good?

LeslieM wrote on November 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm

First of all he was resisting when he was asked to walk to the police officers car. He continued to walk away was brought back and asked to do something that he didn't comply with and also was cussing at the police officer. I do understand the pepper spray at that point. What I don't understand is why after he was put in the backseat in handcuffs did the police officer dive into the car and put his hands around the guys neck. I do believe that was uncalled for. He wasn't trying to hurt himself. As for you that want to bring RACE into it again. If a white man would have done the samething he would have been treated the same way. I don't understand the person above that was talking about slavery this has nothing to do with slavery. Breaking the law is breaking the law and a white person would have been treated the same way. Get over the whole RACE thing it has been played out way to many times, by people trying to get themselves out of trouble.

LeslieM wrote on November 25, 2011 at 10:11 pm

Also at one point in the audio I believe I heard that they had a complaint that these three men were also out in the street stopping traffic. I'm sorry but as many times as I have been down on the u of i campus I have seen tons of people jaywalking and none of them have been arrested for it. Guess as long as you are a student you are allowed.

ClearVision wrote on November 30, 2011 at 9:11 am

A few points:

1) I've read (would be worth checking) that Illinois has recently dropped all mention of "jaywalking" from state code. In that case there is no state crime to crossing the street outside a crosswalk or against a traffic control signal. What has been and continues to be illegal, for good reason, is impeding traffic, even in a crosswalk (i.e., pedestrians don't have right of way, even in a crosswalk, if entering the roadway doesn't give vehicles adequate time to stop).

2) "Everybody does it" has never been a valid excuse for violating the law.

3) If you checked official statistics, you'd find that students do get tickets for impeding traffic when crossing streets illegally. Not nearly often enough in my opinion but it does happen.

4) The perpetrator in this case is reportedly a student.