Champaign council wants to see contract before OK'ing probe of pepper spray incident

Champaign council wants to see contract before OK'ing probe of pepper spray incident

CHAMPAIGN -- City council members want to see a contract in front of them before they give the green light to a review of the circumstances surrounding a June 5 arrest and the police department's use-of-force policy.

On Tuesday, they were asked to give City Manager Steve Carter the authority to sign a contract valued at between $60,000 and $100,000 to retain an independent expert to, in part, conduct the investigation into a citizen complaint against a police officer.

Some council members said they wanted to give the city manager the authority on Tuesday night and one council member said he did not want to hire a consultant at all. But the consensus of the whole was to wait until a firm contract was ready to go, which will take several weeks.

That was the technical aspect of the vote, but the bulk of discussion revolved around how to address community concern over a controversial June 5 arrest, at which an officer pepper sprayed a man he apparently was attempting to arrest for jaywalking and the city's subsequent handling of the event.

"I would think good professionals welcome good professional investigations of themselves and others," said council member Tom Bruno.

Eight city council members wanted at least to see a contract in front of them, but some indicated that they could still be swayed one way or another about whether even to pursue another investigation into the incident and the department's use-of-force policy. The Illinois State Police and FBI have reviewed the arrest and found no violations of departmental policy or civil rights laws.

Bruno said those two investigations -- and an internal investigation into a citizen complaint during the summer -- were incomplete, and he's waiting to see a report he can rely on.

"I, for one, was very disappointed that the Illinois State Police didn't do a thorough investigation," Bruno said. "Everyone deserved that. Everyone. Especially the police officer involved."

Becky Dragoo, a Springfield field supervisor for the police union, chastised Carter on his handling of the situation. She said city officials improperly shifted blame onto police officers.

"If your policy is flawed, the fault lies with you, City Manager Carter, not with the troops on the street," she said.

She said city officials "exacerbated" a rocky relationship between the police department and some segments of the community.

"You and the police department administration set the policy, and our police officers followed it to the letter," Dragoo said.

Council member Paul Faraci was the only representative who voted to drop the issue. He said he received an overwhelming response from residents of his district in southwest Champaign.

"Overwhelming is an understatement," Faraci said. "They are opposed to us spending money on this."

As city officials look to replace a retiring police chief, he said, addressing the concerns should be the first item on the new department head's agenda when that person is hired early next year.

"My expectation is that the new chief takes control of this situation," Faraci said.



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yeahokay wrote on December 14, 2011 at 12:12 am

Bruno had some good, strong points tonight as he oftentimes does. Granted, he is typically a bit of a bully when he forces those views down everyones throat- and rarely does he seem to allow his personal beliefs to take a backseat to what his constituents want.

I was incredibly impressed by Faraci's well-stated and intelligent comments tonight. It was nice to see someone stand up for what they believe in, even though he was standing alone.

Nice work tonight Faraci, advocating for responsible spending in the midst of what is supposedly an incredibly tight budget is the right thing to do.

The council was all over the place tonight with their opinions, assessments, thoughts and ideas for what this review is supposed to accomplish and why we're doing it in the first place. Many of those concepts were contradictory.

Unfortunately, while Ms. Dragoo had some interesting points this evening, nobody who matters will entertain them thanks to her inexcusable tactics and unprofessional delivery. The men and women of our police force deserve to be represented by someone who can serve them with more dignity than she proved capable of tonight.

Related side note: Alarmingly interesting to me is the fact that Ms. Dodds seems to be willing to fall on her sword for Steve Carter. He appears to be the greatest thing in her mind since sliced bread. Can anyone explain that for me? What's so great about Carter. He has always reminded me of the Governor in the old Dolly Parton/Burt Reynolds flick "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas."

the-uniform wrote on December 14, 2011 at 1:12 am

$60,000-$100,000 for a private contractor to investigate what a Federal Government Agency has already cleared. If you want to fire a Police Officer then fire the Police Officer, why waste this much money on it. This could easily keep the front desk open from 7p-7a for a quite a while longer. 

james33 wrote on December 14, 2011 at 7:12 am

I agree Uniform, fire the police officer that has been cleared by 3 agencys that are not Professional. Save the $100,000 for more important issues..............Like when a person of a certain gender and certain race, drives recklessly and endangers the lives of everyone around and the officer has to tickle them with a feather to get them to cooperate. Yes Uniform, Save the money for Feathers, so the police can tickle these fools.

Joe American wrote on December 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

Does anyone know whether the City Managers (Carters) position is an appointed position or an elected position?  I've got to plead ignorant on this one, and I searched the web and couldn't find the answer.  And if it's an elected position, what is the election cycle for that position?

CJ Williams wrote on December 14, 2011 at 9:12 am

Appointed.  He has been at the City for 25+ years.  Time for him to leave./....he can take Tommy B with him too...


When will the City start their investigation into who leaked the video to YouTube?

champaignfreedom wrote on December 14, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Not a huge fan of Steve Carter but can anyone give me reasons or instances of why he should be gone other than he has been here 25 years?

Local Yocal wrote on December 14, 2011 at 1:12 pm
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Yes, the FOP is so right, we citizens don't know anything about police procedure and training and we can't possibly understand what we see on a squad car video that was supposed to be kept confidential. So let's move along folks, quit looking at that video, there's nothing to see here.

Quit looking at the officer ignoring the white female who is jaywalking by standing in the middle of the intersection at 1:06 on the tape.
Quit looking at the officer parking just north of 5th and Green, blocking traffic, from 1:43 to 6:04 on the tape.
Quit listening to Officer Patrick Simons say to another officer at 4:57 on the tape, "All these white kids are affiliated with them," indicating police are most concerned about the black pedestrians, and the presence of white people are hindering police action.
Quit looking at Officer Simons driving down the wrong way on Healy Street in a non-emergency situation at 6:22 on the tape, and ignoring the white male who crosses Healy in the middle of the street, jaywalking, at 6:29 on the tape.
Quit looking at the white male to the right jaywalking by not using the lines provided who is ignored by officer Simons at 7:03 on the tape.
Quit looking at another white male jaywalking by staggering into the street at 8:09 on the tape which the officer chooses to ignore as well.
Quit looking at another jaywalker Simons ignores crossing near the Pizza Hut at 8:13 on the tape.
Quit looking at the way the two on-foot officers have chosen to follow the black pedestrians amid the hundreds of pedestrians in the area at 8:13.
Quit looking at the fact the squad car officer cannot hear and has no idea what the content of the conversation is between the on-foot officers and the black pedestrians from 8:35 to 10:22 on the tape.
Quit looking at the way Officer Simons chooses to follow the black pedestrians in his squad car at 10:27 on the tape even though the two on-foot officers have chosen to take no action towards the black pedestrians.
Quit looking at the bicyclist at 10:51 on the tape the officer chooses to ignore crossing Green Street without a headlight on the bike.
Quit looking at the way Officer Simons uses his squad car at 11:00 on the tape as a weapon, nearly running over the three black pedestrians in a hostile and provoking manner.
Quit looking at Officer Simons exiting his vehicle at 11:10 on the tape, leaving it in the middle of the intersection to block traffic, carrying a large cannister of weapons-grade pepper spray to enforce a jaywalking violation.
Quit looking at Officer Simons escalate the situation by going hands-on with a pedestrian without telling the subject he is under arrest, even though jaywalking is not an arrestable offense at 11:14 on the tape. Simons' explanation to the subject as to why he is grabbing him is because, "I told you to step up to my car."
Quit looking at the subject cooperate with the officer by allowing his left arm to be grabbed by the officer, walk with the officer back to the squad car, and place his free arm on the squad car from 11:14 to 11:24 on the tape.
Stop noticing all the subject's arm motions are part of his speech and not directed at the officer at 11:25 on the tape.
Quit looking at Officer Simons NOT give the subject a warning from 11:14 to 11:25 on the tape that if the subject does not stop verbally irritating the officer, he will pepper spray him (as if that standard can actually be found in the use of force policy.)
Quit looking at Officer Simons, without a word, "rabbit-punch" the pedestrian by using a crowd-control-size can of pepper spray from a distance of less than 3', if not mere inches, at 11:25 on the tape.
Quit looking at the pepper sprayed pedestrian put his free hand back on the squad car at 11:26 on the tape.
Quit looking at Officer Simons randomly spray at onlookers as they react horrified to the officer's violence at 11:29 on the tape.
Quit looking at the pedestrian allow his hands to be handcuffed behind his back from 11:37 to 11:51 on the tape.
Quit looking at Officer Brian Anshell tell the handcuffed subject to shut up and then slam the handcuffed subject's face against the hood of the squad car at 11:53 on the tape.
Quit listening to the handcuffed subject allow himself to be placed in the back of the squad car at 11:54 to 12:24 on the tape.
Quit noticing Officer Simons never telling the handcuffed subject why he is under arrest from 11:14 to 19:00 on the tape.
At 13:10, Officer Simons says "I tried to stop you legally, and you resisted me!" Never does Simons explain the offense of jaywalking to the handcuffed subject, but does so to an unknown officer at 13:27 on the tape.
Quit listening to Officer Simons never tell the handcuffed subject where he is taking him as he pulls into a nearby parking lot at 14:20 on the tape.
Quit listening to the handcuffed subject consent to presenting I.D. at 15:18 on the tape.
Stop watching the handcuffed subject ask the officer to not touch him and instead, requests he be taken to jail at 15:49 on the tape.
And definitely quit your looking at Officer Simons open the back door of the squad car at 15:51 on the tape, and throttle the handcuffed subject by the throat, even though the officer's safety was not in jeopardy whatsoever.
Stop listening to the handcuffed subject spill out of the other side of the squad car at 15:59 on the tape.
Stop listening to the handcuffed subject try to explain to Officer Justin Prosser that he was just choked by Officer Simons and hear Prosser to tell the handcuffed subject to "calm down."
Whatever you do, don't listen at 16:06 on the tape, where the handcuffed subject screams out in pain again after Justin Prosser pepper sprays the handcuffed subject for a second time.
Stop listening to the handcuffed subject tell the officers their use of force had been too much, "That's enough somewhere," at 16:32 on the tape.

If you don't stop looking at this video tape, you are going to get pepper sprayed. If you try to get a copy of the felony police report that accuses the handcuffed young man on this video  of breaking an officer's hand, you are going to get pepper sprayed. And if any of you ever try to videotape police officers on your own like Martel Miller did in 2004, you are going to get pepper sprayed. You ignorant civilians are not supposed to ever see these squad car videos, so don't ever try to FOIA for them or you'll get pepper sprayed. Just trust that Police Chief R.T. Finney, the Illinois State Police (without the services of trooper Mike Callahan), and the FBI have carefully reviewed all these facts and have found nothing wrong. That's all the police "work" you need to understand. Alright then, now shut up and give the police that tax money- or you'll get pepper sprayed. Afterall, this is America, not the Soviet Union-Obama-Socialist Police State.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 14, 2011 at 4:12 pm

Wow!!  That about says it all from one point of view.   Looks like no one cares about the firefighting.  Will another investigation solve the anger on both sides; or will a new chief solve the anger?  From an economic, and public safety view; it would be better to forget about another investigation.  From the anti-police side; it would be better to spend the money, have less fire protection, fire the officer in question, demand that the new chief do something about police brutality, and appease a portion of the community.   Does anyone thing that a cooling down period for both sides would be advantageous to the new chief who will be inheriting this issue?

james33 wrote on December 15, 2011 at 12:12 am

What a comment Yocal! All I heard was boo hoo, because he's black. Paint those fools white and they'll still be targeted because they're extremely loud and obnoxious. Those cops should've arrested the whole group. "Great JOB SIMMONS!".

mankind wrote on December 15, 2011 at 11:12 am


HOCKEYDAD wrote on December 14, 2011 at 7:12 pm

For those of you who understand and can reasonably make a decision based on fact, Google "Use of force continuum". This is what the actions of every peace officer are judged by. The suspect controls the amount of force justified to gain compliance. Although it starts at completely cooperative, the suspect can instantly move to the highest level, "Deadly Force" by his/her actions. The Officer is justified to use the appropriate level of force that is nessassary to gain compliance. No where does it state "Keep warning the suspect and hope he/she will finally cooperate". Nor does it say how many warnings to give. To expect an Officer who is dealing with a drunk and uncooperative suspect to issue a certian number verbal warnings is a complete waste of time. The FOP representitive is correct, the average citizen has no idea what it takes to do a Police Officer's job, or how truly difficult it is. That has only been made more difficult by The Mayor, Steve Carter and the majority of the city council. They have further exacerbated an already tense racial situation in this city. Giving any legitimacy to the fringe groups who find fault with anything a Police Officer in this city does will eventually come back to haunt us...all of us.  

Local Yocal wrote on December 14, 2011 at 9:12 pm
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Equally haunting and dangerous is allowing police officers to do whatever they want. The Graham v. Connor ruling and "the clairvoyant clause" that allows officers to "imagine" a subject intends to flee has given officers extraordinary latitude when they use painful force. HockeyDad suggests that it is the citizens and their behavior that determines what type and amount of painful force gets used by officers. If only that were true. The fact is Chief Finney was never in danger when he aimed his gun at two children and threatened to kill them on Oct. 9 and go hands-on with his gun out; and everyone can see here in this June 5th video that Officer Simons initiated the use of force by carrying a crowd control-size can of pepper spray to a jaywalking incident and goes hands-on without explanation for an offense that isn't even an arrestable offense- which is rarely if ever done to the white U of I kids. Where does the use of force policy suggest using the squad car to pull into jaywalking pedestrians is an appropriate use of force? Where in the policy does it say, "Verbally protesting, talking with your hands, using profane language" is sufficient reason for an officer to inflict painful force? Explain Officer Ashell's slamming the kid's face into the squad car after the kid was HANDCUFFED? How was Ashell being threatened or attacked by a kid in handcuffs? How was officer safety in jeopardy when Simons chose to open the squad car back door and throttle a HANDCUFFED subject? Where was the threat to Officer Prosser when he pepper sprayed the HANDCUFFED subject again for a second time? Vague terms like "active resisting" or "non-compliance" with even vaguer definitions is over. Citizens would like definitions, would like oversight, would like to have input in how they want to be police. Don't like all that democracy? Haliburton, Inc. has a private security position in Iraq where you can play cowboy over there. The police here are not a paramilitary private organization with a seperate set of rules that are to be incomprehensible to those they are sworn to protect. In order to de-escalate situations, which should be the top priority of all officers for their safety and the safety of the citizens they are protecting (we assume enforcing a jaywalking [despite the racial bias in officer Simons' selection process to enforce] is an effort to protect the jaywalker); officers are not to be out seeking confrontations, manufacturing crimes (like control drug buys), provoking citizens (like driving up on them with squad cars), escalating violence (like pulling guns on kids) or engaging in on-the-scene corporeal punishment for past bad acts (like the Calvin Miller beating). Throughout the entire video the kid repeatedly asked, why are you stopping me, why are you hurting me? Simons gives no answer (what kind of community policing is no answer?), which might have de-escalated the situation. Maybe if Simons had taken his time (I don't think any life was in jeopardy because of the jaywalking- what was the damn hurry?), not parked in the middle of the intersection and not assumed he was walking into a riot, he could have handled the situation a little differently (you know, with some patience), instead of just being the first on the draw with force. You are to be PEACE officers, not the fastest, most violent gang on the street. The lunatic fringe is the FOP and command staff and the few rogue officers who enact use of force policies in the backrooms, outside the view of even the city council, and then say surprise! it's in our new rules... when some unarmed citizen gets hurt. If you want compliance, maybe the officers should learn to control their tempers and not hand out corporeal punishments as they see fit. But the real deal for so many in this community is what really bothered officers Simons, Ashell, and Prosser- it wasn't the jaywalking; it was the loudmouth black man, "jawjacking" Simons called it. That's when zero tolerance gets enacted and use of painful force, without warning, without reason is most necessary. Make sure "jawjacking by an African American" is in your use of force policy.

danvillenative wrote on December 14, 2011 at 11:12 pm

Can this paper explain why it constantly removes pro police comments. Was is because i said local yocal wasted my time, cause I mentioned the race card, or simply cause it was supporting the officer.

Local Yocal wrote on December 15, 2011 at 4:12 am
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It was Officer Patrick Simons who played the race card by not enforcing the jaywalking ordinance against the white jaywalkers caught on his squad car camera at 1:06, 6:29, 7:03, 8:09, and 8:13, and the white bicyclist without a headlight at 10:51 on the tape. If one of you defiant bloggers were issued a city ticket for jaywalking, you'd be screaming, "Haven't the police got better things to do?!" And you would be right. With hundreds of drunk people walking around at 2:30 a.m., Simons decision to enforce jaywalking is a bizarre enforcement priority with a clear racial bias. His action does not enhance public safety, but is rather a choice to seek a confrontation (which is why Simons drove his squad car at the black pedestrians, brought the jumbo cannister of pepper spray to the conversation, and went hands-on without a word for a non-arrestable offense.) I guess we better adjust the city's jaywalking ordinance to specify, "Jaywalking will only be enforced against those pedestrians who are African-American."

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 15, 2011 at 10:12 am

I cannot agree with your last statement which reveals your racism regardless of your race.  In previous articles commenters who are caucasian have complained about being harrassed by police officers for jaywalking in campus town.   Even back in the 70's, you could be stopped by the police for jaywalking in the bar areas.   It makes no difference what your race might be.  The fact that the video shows white jaywalkers, or bicyclists has nothing to do with it.  Groups of people roaming campus town at 2:30 a.m. will draw the attention of the police.  Were there "hundreds of drunk people walking around" that night?  You are inserting the race card into the issue when a cooling down period of time is needed.   Goodness forbid that some suburban, U of I student gets assaulted in that area walking at 2:30 a.m.   With public safety services diminishing, and public attitudes divided; a curfew only allowing persons who are working, or needing assistance at that time of night maybe the answer.   You want law, and order with respect?  Stay off the streets at that time of night; and don't be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Be a help, not a hinderance. 

mankind wrote on December 15, 2011 at 12:12 pm

I'll remember this when you're up for reelection, Paul Faraci. When it came time to make a moral judgment you looked to the polls. I thought you were new to politics?

Local Yocal wrote on December 15, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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"In previous articles commenters who are caucasian have complained about being harrassed by police officers for jaywalking in campus town." So caucasians who have been cited for jaywalking agree with what the Kid in the video was "jawjacking" about- that officers were harrassing them? All this time, I thought caucasion commenters here were claiming the law is the law, and police gotta enforce it- so everybody shut your cakehole and take it. But Sid here says caucasians feel harrassed too by a jaywalking citation. Maybe that's why Officer Simons didn't enforce the jaywalking violations against the jaywalking caucasians in the video because Officer Simons didn't want the caucasians to feel harrassed, unlike, those black's this petty harrassment over jaywalking, a sentiment shared by caucasians, is what the kid is trying to tell the officer before he's pepper sprayed, then handcuffed, then choked, then pepper sprayed again.

"The fact that the video shows white jaywalkers, or bicyclists has nothing to do with it." But everything to do with the content of the kid's speech, the attitude of the black pedestrians who felt singled out by the on-foot officers. I'm not inserting the race card, it's THE POLICE who insert the race card when they decide upon their enforcement priorities. It's obvious race is everything FOR THE POLICE when they patrol a crowd and it's on the video, and police even talk about race at 4:57 on the tape.

The attitude of the Kid, and the rest of the black pedestrians who were offended at being singled out by the on-foot officers is PROVOKED BY THE POLICE who choose to enforce the laws according to race and use force according to race. Officer Simons didn't aim his squad car at the caucasian jaywalkers on the video. Officer Simons didn't approach the caucasian jaywalkers on the video with the jumbo size cannister of pepper spray. Simons didn't grab the caucasion jaywalkers by the left arm and direct them to his squad car. Why not, if race "has got nothing to do with it"?

So many people act surprised the Kid on the video verbally protested his being singled out when folks like Sid here admit jaywalking enforcement is a bit petty. And do you want verbal protesting of an officer's actions to be the standard that authorizes officers to inflict painful force? Maybe some of you do. The blind allegiance (guilt) toward the policing profession has even the common sensical Sid Saltfork here chucking his American birth certificate into the garbage can and accepts being ruled by a martial law of curfew, lest the Gestapo kicks your butt. Tell that to the city council who extended campus bar and restaurant hours to 2:00 a.m. Tell that to the Campus Business Association who demand the free enterprise to exploit drunk people for their money until 2: 00 a.m. Tell the 18-24 year olds they should be in bed by 12:00 a.m. because after midnight, the police won't respect you anymore. The argument comes very close to the 'ol "If you ladies don't want to be raped, stop wearing shorts and halter tops." Who needs to change their behavior here?

It's law enforcement who has divided this community by enforcing laws according to race, and inflicting painful force according to race. And that's what no one wants to fess up to and why you can't comprehend why the African American youth react to some police officers the way they do. The kid didn't "actively resist", he demanded to know what the hell the officer was doing grabbing him. Something you caucasians would do as well had you been nearly run over by a squad car and grabbed by an officer with a cannister of pepper spray. But the idea that a police officer would ever do that to you is beyond your belief. Afterall, police have always been nice to you. Wonder why.

potenza wrote on December 15, 2011 at 6:12 pm

See today's editorial in the News Gazette

Khristine wrote on December 16, 2011 at 4:12 pm
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Had this been a U of I student during the school year, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Jaywalking is as common as breathing on campus. In two and a half years of driving on campus late nights, I have yet to see an arrest for jaywalking. A ticket would have sufficed. From the look of the video, the police were looking for a reason to get into an altercation with these kids. They found it. My father was a police officer in San Francisco for 30 years. In discussing this with him he made a good point that stands out to me, police are suppose to be trained to diffuse a situation, not escalate it. That was not the case in this situation. 

Local Yocal wrote on December 17, 2011 at 3:12 pm
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In fact, ILCS 625 5/11-307, Disobeying a Pedestrian-Control Signal, is.... a Class P offense. Meaning a petty offense, punishable by a fine only. There was nothing Simons had to go hands-on about because an arrest was not required and no reason to bring a cannister of pepper spray to the event. Instead of explaining to the kid what he was doing, Simons converted the whole the thing to a contest of who's boss. It was the verbal refusal by the kid to "step to my car" that set Simons off. Oh, and what does ILCS 625 5/11-203 say about disobeying the orders of an officer authorized to regulate traffic? Class P offense too, fine of $150, no arrest required. Simons could have done what he did with the other causasian jaywalkers 5 other times earlier in the film, and what the on-foot officers did even in the face of what I suppose some would consider a disorderly conduct (how many arrests would those two on-foot officers have had to make amid the "argument" they provoked by following those black pedestrians?); Simons could have let it go. Instead, he sought a confrontation.

Local Yocal wrote on December 15, 2011 at 9:12 pm
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From high atop the lofty executive offices of Countess Cathedral comes the final edict to the subserviant city council: "[The City Council's] best recourse now is to accept the professional opinions they have received."

Yes, ignore the video folks, and join the editorial board in licking the police boot on your neck. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming to find that culprit who released the taxpayers' squad car professional.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 15, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Gee, Yocal get a grip on it.....  Your rambling assertions of racism makes your comments seem racist.  The rhetoric is inflamatory.  I hope that the majority of the diverse population which includes us all realize that the extremes in the total population causes this controversy.   A new police chief will inherit this issue.  Dividing the population further will not help the new chief's solution to the problem.  Reasonable people of all backgrounds realize that the incident happened at 2:30 a.m. when the bars were closed, and people were still in campus town.  Whether alcohol, impressing friends, impressing co-workers, showing authority, or other motives were at play is not completely known.  Another investigation will appease one view, and anger the other view depending on it's conclusion.  It could go either way.  What does it solve?  A new police chief will address the issue whether another report is issued, or not.  The cost of the independent (?) investigation will hurt public services such as fire fighting, pot holes, etc.....  What will it solve?  Either way, you seem to be entrenched in your attitude.   Hopefully, the other council members will come to see that the minority of one, council member had the courage to be pragmatic.   

Local Yocal wrote on December 16, 2011 at 3:12 am
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As if rhetoric caused the inflammation. Some in the community thought it was the behavior of the unsupervised police officers that caused the controversy. It's agreed that an honest investigation that actually looks at the video shouldn't cost a thing. Why the City Council can't throw it back at the tax-supported Chief Finney, The Illinois State Police, and the FBI for further review is a mystery. Oh that's right, they're "professionals" as the N-G editorial writer claimed and/or "unreliable" as Council member Tom Bruno observed. Next time you get pepper sprayed in the face for asking why an officer grabbed you, choked/throttled while you're in handcuffs, and pepper sprayed again while in you're handcuffs, remind us again to have the courage to do the pragmatic thing and shut up. Officer misconduct wouldn't happen if we would just stay inside our homes. Enjoy your freedom.

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm

Much to my shame; I have been cuffed, and pepper sprayed when I was younger.   Yeah, it is not a new invention.  It burns.  Snot comes out of your nose.  It stings.  The cuffs are tight enough to cut off circulation.  At that time; I was indignant, and angry.   Later in life, I realized that I should have done "the pragmatic thing and shut up".   I brought the action upon myself by breaking a minor law; and being indignant when confronted by the officer.  Own your actions.  Take responsibility for yourself.  Try not to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.  Try to be in order, and cooperative.  Man up, and stop blaming others for your mistakes.

Local Yocal wrote on December 16, 2011 at 1:12 pm
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Sid, looking at the video tape:

1) the kid was tired of talking to officers by the time Officer Simons grabs him bringing the pepper spray. He had just done about 7-8 minutes of confronting other on-foot officers, who let him go. So by the time Simons, says "Let's go back to my car", the kid really didn't perceive he had jaywalked, and I don't think he really understood why he was being escorted back to the car, why his hands were being held, after the other officers had already let him go. Simons really didn't need to grab him in the first place, disobeying a traffic signal doesn't require Simons to arrest him.

The kid was indignant, because to him, as the kid repeats over and over, "I didn't do nothin' wrong." and didn't appreciate being touched for nothing. He really believed that.

2) Why couldn't Officer Simons slow down and explain it to him? De-escalate it, instead of stomping on it within 20 seconds. I'll say it again, what's the damn hurry?

3) Accepting your mistakes of a jaywalking doesn't explain the stuff in the back seat of the squad car while he was handcuffed, and the second pepper spraying after he spilled out of the car on the other side. Is there any reason this can't be acknowledged as use of force that is outside the bounds of necessity?




Sid Saltfork wrote on December 16, 2011 at 3:12 pm

1) The police are no fun to talk to regardless of whether your "tired", or not.  He did do something.  He jaywalked which is a minor offense; but it is an offense.  "I didn't do nothin' wrong" doesn't cut it.  Whether he really believed it, or not has no bearing at the time of arrest.  2)  The officer is not a civics teacher.  What would have been accomplished with the group of others gawking, and commenting?  3)  "The stuff in the back seat" was caused by the indignation exhibited by the offender, and the gawkers.                                                       "The bounds of necessity" depends on the police, not the offenders.  The officer was within his understood rules of conduct.  He may have been wrong in his approach to the situation.  A new police chief placing emphasis on community relations, and a public friendly approach may improve things.  The officers see disrespect everyday on their jobs.  They see the "don't rat" attitude when trying to apprehend offenders.  How to you think the arresting officers felt about a suspect being released recently because witnesses would not come forward?  The same suspect was apprehended in the stand off recently.  The Urbana PD was ridculed by some commenters because they brought everything to the scene.  They would have been denounced if something had happened that they were not prepared for in the situation.  Campus town has always been the place to hang out with the bars in the area.   It has always been zealously policed due to the U of I students getting mugged, raped, beat up, etc.....  Expect to be watched by the police regardless of your diversity, age, or gender.   Groups draw attention.   It can be the wrong place, at the wrong time (2:30 a.m.) even if you even jaywalk, or appear to be rowdy.   Rather than blaming one side, two sides, three sides, etc..... for things; how about taking responsibility for our families, and ourselves.  Help, not hinderance is needed to control the situation.  Nothing will be accomplished by another investigation except public services will be cut.  It would only muddle the picture for the new chief that has to do something about police relations, not critize it.  We all agree that we need the police, and firefighters.   An improvement in police community relations requires improvement on both sides: the police, and the community.         

Local Yocal wrote on December 17, 2011 at 10:12 am
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I appreciate the straightforward and consistent views. I respectfully disagree with some of your interpretation of events on the tape, and some of your analysis of the criminal justice system, but for now (in the spirit of de-escalation and cooling down) will agree with you that a $100,000 consultation to assess our use of force policy and the events on this tape, shouldn't be necessary. (If it is, bill Finney and the IL St. Police) Council Member Tom Bruno gave an explanation on WDWS as to why Council and Carter are considering this unpopular move in "hard economic times." When the City of Champaign asked Pesotum to come in and investigate the June 5th arrest, the Illinois State Police said, "To do that, we would have to interview everybody on the tape, officers, witnesses, participants and get the METCAD dispatch records. Finding them all, interviewing them, transcribing the interviews, and analyzing the events against policy and law could take anywhere's from 2-6 months. Are you sure that's what you want us to do?" Champaign said, "Yes." Illinois State Police said, "Okay then."  Hence the shock and dismay, what Bruno calls "unreliability", to the unsigned paragraph by the State police mailed to Council days later that essentially said, "Looks good to us."

That a fourth investigation is going to make somebody mad, is no reason to not look into this event further. People are already mad (that Local Yocal guy is sure throwing a hissy fit) by the mere existence of what they are seeing on this tape and see it as further proof of a department gone awry since Greg Brown's killing in 2000. If you are right that officers are not doing anything wrong (I disagree), then the very least another investigation could do is  educate the citizenry, once and for all; because far too many don't see any reason to cooperate with a department that does the kinds of things shown on this tape. I don't mind another investigation being conducted by the new Chief at no extra cost, but a red flag is on the ground, and further review is needed. The insulting "investigations" done so far strike many as the police not taking responsibility for their actions, one of the two requirements you say are needed in improving community/police relations.     

Sid Saltfork wrote on December 17, 2011 at 9:12 pm

Yocal;  I think that the police did nothing wrong in regard to procedures.  Whether they handled the specific situation wrong maybe another matter.  We both can agree that community relations are in another decline.  The history of community relations in C-U has it's ups, and downs; but it improves when the community, and the police both come together.   A new chief will hopefully correct bad approaches to community relations.  In the past when the economic times were better; there would not have been so much opposition to a costly investigation.  The loss of fire protection involves all members of the community.  Whatever the results of another investigation; the other side will not believe, or accept it.  I understand your view, and respect it.  However, I cannot agree with it at this specific time.  I am sure that future articles will keep the controversy alive.

TexMex wrote on December 16, 2011 at 9:12 am

This is for anyone who has not been in a police officers shoes. Do you know what they have to deal with every day? Why do people assume it is because of race that he was pepper sprayed? So what you are trying to say is that NEVER in the history of Champaign has a White, Hispanic, Asian, or any other race been pepper sprayed, tazed, hit with a baton, or arrested? Thats what your comments say to me, sheer ignorance. You are just more worried about making this into a race issue. You want attention. Also FYI Illinois State law states that traffic laws do NOT apply to officers when they are working in an official capacity so make sure you read the laws before running your mouth, Many departments have policies about following traffic laws such as seatbelt, speeds, ETC. I just cannot believe what people are coming to these days. If you break the law you get in trouble, there are consequences for your actions, grow up and accept those consequences. Race does not play a part in deciding if you should be arrested or not. Law also states use "whatever force necessary to affect an arrest" while policy dictates the "use of force" allowed. You want people to feel bad for you. Don't break the law because I guarantee if he didn't break the law or resist the officer none of this would have happend. There is a thing called discretion. Let the officer stop you put you in cuffs if he feels he needs to for safety. When you resist him....You ARE going to jail..No discretion left. Cooperate and you have a much better chance of going home. Enjoy your life of trying to get attention...trying to blame everything bad that happens to you on your race. I enjoy watching each of you make a fool of yourself when you ASSUME things you don't have any idea about.

Oh, and one more thing. Why didn't the officers stop the other jaywalkers walking across the street? Because they were already busy investigating and dealing with one that was already attempting to resist arrest....Read all of Illinois Law and Police policies then get back to us when you decide what is best for officer safety. I will tell you now...someone trying to resist being put in handcuffs isnt what is best for safety. How do you know that there was no gun or knife????? Probably because you assume that they did it because of his race...wrong! Enjoy your day.