Officers' actions in pepper-spray incident being reviewed for discipline
UPDATED 11:58 a.m. Wednesday
CHAMPAIGN — Police Chief Anthony Cobb says the actions of “three to six” officers involved in the June 2011 arrest of Brandon Ward are being reviewed for possible disciplinary action, although city officials on Wednesday wouldn’t elaborate on how far those actions might go.
The internal investigation is the final response to a citizen complaint regarding the arrest, during which officer Patrick Simons pepper-sprayed Ward and later grabbed at his neck while Ward sat in the backseat of a squad car.
After a team of three Champaign police officers investigated the incident, city officials on Wednesday issued several findings:
— The stop, arrest and use of pepper spray were reasonable.
— Courtesy and handcuffing violations occurred while the citizen was in custody.
— The manner used for removal from the squad car was not justified.
— The citizen complaint that was first dismissed and later appealed was not thoroughly investigated at the beginning of the process.
The arrest was at the center of a public controversy after a dashboard video of the arrest was leaked.
ADDED: Here is audio of the press conference Wednesday morning to announce the findings.