Officers' actions in pepper-spray incident being reviewed for discipline

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.

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bb wrote on May 02, 2012 at 11:05 am

Common sense actually prevails finally!  Why it took almost a year to figure this one out I'll never know.

spangwurfelt wrote on May 02, 2012 at 3:05 pm

I think the sense was that if everybody simply walked in lockstep with Finney, then this incident will quietly go away when Finney does.

Fortunately, that wasn't the case.

robjoe99 wrote on May 02, 2012 at 12:05 pm

How about this, do what you are told, don't resist, and you won't get pepper spray in the face.  The law says you can not resist arrest and that the police have the right to use whatever force is necessary to make an arrest. 

spangwurfelt wrote on May 02, 2012 at 3:05 pm

How about finally admitting that yes, Virginia, there is indeed such a thing as excessive force, and that you can't always get away with blaming it on the guy in the cuffs?

thorx wrote on May 03, 2012 at 10:05 pm

I agree with you completely, yours is the most level-headed response on here.  For months, there had been reports of senseless beatings in the area so yes, I want the Police making their presence known and to curb illegal activity.  It's unfortunate that things escalated the way they did, but I don't see anything wrong at all with the police officer's actions.  He didn't just attack the young man, he gave him several commands and was met with hostility and non-cooperation.  So he arrested him.  There were several commands to present an I.D. and once again non-cooperation and threats followed.  If the perpetrator had just followed the officers commands, offered an apology for jaywalking (right in front of him) he probably would have just got off with a warning.  As it is, if commands are given by an officer and are not complied with, what choice is there?  Absolutely absurd to flip this and blame the police, just freaking do what the officer says and you'll be on your way.  The level of disrespect constantly shown to the police is embarrassing.

Local Yocal wrote on May 04, 2012 at 5:05 am
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"It's unfortunate that things escalated the way they did,..."

It serves well to look at that fortune: 1) the two on-foot police officers had been following the subject since he walked out of the Clyborne bar on Sixth Street. No reason was given for this on-foot surveillance. The subject was not a part of the fight on 5th Street, the cause of Officer Simons' drive from University Avenue. In fact, Simons has time to get out of his car on 5th and Green, get back in, drive around the block going the wrong way on Healy, turn back on Sixth and Green before we see the subject near that particular area. 2) On the tape we see numerous white U of I students jaywalking. Simons' choice to eventually enforce jaywalking against this particular subject represents selective enforcement based on what?....race perhaps? 3) Simons drives his squad car at the subjects (whistling merrily while he does), stopping in the middle of an intersection. Using the squad car as a weapon is a clear aggressive provokation manuever- and unheard of were the subject a white U of I student. 4) To enforce a jaywalking violation, Officer Simons exits his car carrying a crowd-control size of cannister pepper spray. Nothing says "Hello, I need to talk to you." like having a painful weapon displayed at the ready. Any interaction with the citizen is premised on "I'm about to spray you in the face with this." 5) The subject was completely unaware he had jaywalked. The officer never explained why he was approaching him with a jumbo cannister of pepper spray. Even so, the subject still cooperated by walking with the officer back to the squad car. 6) Despite repeated requests for the reason why the officer stopped the subject (admittedly, using rude language), no discussion is had. Instead, the officer goes immediately midevil by using a crowd control weapon at too close of range without a verbal warning whatsoever, despite the fact the subject was not actively resisting- he was speaking with his hands. 7) As reported on the front page of the Daily Illini, the officer assisting the handcuffing, Brian Aschell, curses the subject and pushes his head against the hood of the car AFTER the subject is handcuffed.

By the way, the state law regarding walking against a traffic light, the one the subject was charged with, is not an arrestable offense.

And that, as they say, is the tip of this iceberg. There are plenty of things others are seeing wrong with this police officer's actions and the actions of Aschell and Justin Prosser that the vetting of this has just begun but unfortunately,.... City Manager Carter stands in the way of a complete investigation since saving lawsuit money is more important than truth in this matter.

thorx wrote on May 06, 2012 at 12:05 am

Did you even see the tape?  The officers on foot patrol were obviously on alert when dealing with this group and you could hear the pedestrians yelling and acting in an obnoxious manner.  This looked to be communicated to the officer in the squad car who was following along as a back up.  Yes, it was "just" jaywalking but why couldn't the young man just follow any of the THREE commands of the office to step back to his vehicle?

At every turn, where the young man has the opportunity to cooperate, he does exactly the opposite basically just asking for the situation to escalate.

What would have been so difficult about stepping back to the vehicle, apologizing for jaywalking and be sent on your way?  By not complying with any of the numerous commands he was given, he got what was coming to him and I don't feel the least bit sorry for him.

I've been stopped by the police twice in my life.  Both instances were just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  And both times I remained calm, cooperative and was on my way in a matter of minutes.  In both instances the officers were authoritative but professional and I have no problem with either of the stops I was associated with.

For all the people who are incensed by this incident, you need to spend some time in Chicago.  Our officers are purring kittens by comparison.

Local Yocal wrote on May 08, 2012 at 4:05 pm
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You have a vague way of presenting your lack of opinions. How about you apply some of these principles you cite to the facts at hand so the rest of the class can learn. Good luck with that. All we got now is ClearVision found a website on logical fallacies. Until you can demonstrate how it applies, you're just throwing rocks: "I say it's so, so it's so."

ultragreen wrote on May 08, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Except, the kid wasn't resisting arrest when he was pepper sprayed and later choked by the cop. He was merely mouthing off and so the cop decided to take his revenge. This is typical redneck cop behavior.

handyman65 wrote on May 02, 2012 at 1:05 pm

Here is a prime example of a witch hunt!The perp was resisting arrest and even when in cuffs spits on the officer,thats assult,then the thugs and their mommy's cry abuse.I guess this won't end til the officers are only allowed to use a feather on the criminals and tickle them til they surrender.Being roughed up during an arrest isn't supposed to be pleasent,it's a deterant to get them to surrender so no violence is escalated and no one is hurt.I think it's time for the city to stop canaliblizing it's own to appease the race baiter's and their horde.I have been arrested before and although I think the treatment was heavy handed it wasn't excessive to the point of abuse.But I didn't give the officer any reason to get rough either.So what this boils down to is to every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction.Criminals,take responsabilty for you faults and stop trying to blame someone else for your wanton endangerment of law abiding citizens and our public servents.

rch wrote on May 02, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Are you saying that police are supposed to rough people up during an arrest on purpose? And that this is supposed to "deter" them from becoming violent? I'm sorry, but not only is that incorrect, it is totally illogical, too. The police officer's job is to maintain control of the situation in order to keep everyone safe: himself, passersby, and YES, even the person being arrested (i.e. de-escalate whenever possible). It appears that the officer in questions lost control of himself and, in fact, made the situation worse by reacting. As far as violence being a deterent to more violence, that is one of the most flawed ideas ever. Are you one of those parents who spanks their kids as a consequence for hitting other kids, or yells at them because they're yelling?! Corporal punishment, or in this case aggressive policework, never produce the desired effects!

BTW, so relieved he got this jaywalking, saliva spewing criminal off the streets! What a thug! (insert sarcasm)

handyman65 wrote on May 02, 2012 at 8:05 pm

There seems to be a reading comprhension deficit problem here. I said being roughed up during an arrest isn't supposed to be pleasent.When someone resist arrest, officers need to use what ever force necessary to deter the perp from causing any harm to themselves,the arresting officer,and the public.As you put it "maintain control" takes a forcefull handling  to accomplish this.As far as flawed ideas,I don't live by whatever the newest fad is in philisophical beliefs are.It takes violence of a more severe nature to control and cease a violent action.Pain"corporal punishment" has been and always will be the best teacher.Spare the rod and spoil the child.That mantra doesn't mean to beat someone bloody,it simply means to punish them appropriately.Spoiled children grow up to be self centered adults.But of course you'll disagree because you can look around with an open eye and see the result of what your ideals has done to society.Civil disobedience anyone?

BTW,it wasn't jaywalking that got him arrested.He fit the description of a perp from a robbery that happened just minutes earlier in the night.What got him arrested was his actions when the officer tried to detain him.Spitting on an officer is assult.How someone conducts themselves in situations is a resemblence of who you are.In this case,Ward acted like a thug so he was treated appropriately.No abuse or excessive force was performed in this matter.

rch wrote on May 04, 2012 at 7:05 pm

Any comprehension deficit here lies squarely with you. All of the methods you claim to be effective have been proven the opposite time and time again. A quick literature search on your part will deliver plenty of evidence on this. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result (thus, incidentally, this will be my last reply to you!). Violence, whether imposed on children by their parents or on community members by the police, will never yield a positive result.

I can assure you that the "thugs" you complain about in our community were not "spared the rod" by their parents. In fact, I am willing to bet they were treated quite violently by their parents. And what do we see them doing now? Perpetrating violence on others. I have worked with incarcerated youth, so these things I know first hand.

 

Please refer to the above well-written response by Local Yocal to address the rest of your misunderstandings.

Local Yocal wrote on May 06, 2012 at 1:05 pm
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@ Handyman65: You say: "When someone resists arrest...What got him arrested was his actions...Spitting on an officer is assault."

What video are you looking at? What report are you reading? Your loyalty to imaginary, violent heroes is so noted, but on this thread here, we're talking about an incident that happened on June 5th in Campustown last year that was caught on squad car video tape with a real police officer. We suggest you have a look at the video some time and carefully read the 12 pages Lt. Paulus begrudgedly produced because of this video tape.

You also mention during your past arrest you too, thought police were "heavy handed" during your arrest despite the fact "you gave them no reason to be heavy handed." It's surprising you are okay with that.

Guilt does not allow officers to inflict on-the-scene corporeal punishment. Punishment is for the courts in this country. Police here are only charged with apprehending people and collecting evidence against those they suspect committed a crime that carries a jailable punishment. If you prefer to be supervised by roaming vigilantees, perhaps you can give your citizenship over to a hardworking immigrant who needs it, and you can head east to one of the many fine dictatorships overseas. There, you will find the kind of police work we've been trying to avoid here for over 200 years. Sorry you don't appreciate our efforts. Anybody headed for China? Handy here needs a ride.

kyedpa5 wrote on May 02, 2012 at 3:05 pm

 

I typically find myself very sympathetic of officers and skeptical when incidents such as this one arise where the only evidence is a video.  When it comes to police officers being involved in physical altercations with suspects, the camera does not always tell the whole story because you cannot tell how much a suspect is resisting because resisting does not always translate to clear movement in the video, especially when it involves wrestling on the ground.  But this incident has an alarming amount of evidence to show the officer may have been excessive.  What we all need to realize is that Brandon Ward wrestled at Central High and then went on to wrestle in college.  He’s very strong and physical altercations are a bit of his expertise.  If he were resisting to the extent that pepper spray became necessary, how could the officer control him with such ease by simply holding his wrist and standing by his side?  The other hand on his back was holding the large canister of mace, so clearly he did not have much leverage with that hand.  I’m not a law enforcement expert or an expert of physical altercations, but these issues seem to be very clear.  Also, I would like to know how often police officers exit their vehicles to issue a jay walking ticket with the crowd control size can of pepper spray?  Or cut off traffic and the jay walking suspects with their vehicle?  It appears to me that Mr. Ward was saying very unkind words to the officers on the sidewalk and they had more self-control than Officer Simmons to avoid escalating the situation.  At the end of the day, most likely, Officer Simmons actions were within the use of force policy, but we must always remember that legality does not always equal morality.   

Local Yocal wrote on May 02, 2012 at 4:05 pm
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Thank you kyedpa5, for actually looking at the video and having some sense. Too bad Champaign Police Lt. Michael Paulus (a training supervisor of all things which explains why the CPD continues to have some thugs on its force) didn't have near your analysis or willingness to not cover up for officers Patrick Simons, Brian Aschell and Justin Prosser. Hopefully, the City will face a stiff lawsuit despite this weak show of "we're doing something, darn that video tape."

spangwurfelt wrote on May 02, 2012 at 3:05 pm

That's good news!

The first step toward justice is recognizing injustice.

kewlwoman77 wrote on May 02, 2012 at 4:05 pm

Let this matter go! If the family is satisfied, why beat a dead horse?  I'll agree with the witch hunt comment.  Can't the time, effort, and money already spent on this issue be spent on more positive matters, perhaps on community relations?

Local Yocal wrote on May 06, 2012 at 3:05 pm
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Why do you think the family is satisfied? And why should they be?

The community can no longer afford to let this go or the use of force policy be allowed to remain vague. Despite the James Hines case of 1999, Greg Brown 2000, The Eavesdropping Case of 2004, Michael Rich 2004, Michael Alexander 2005, Ray Hsieh 2005, Amber Grohall 2005, Larry Martin 2006, Brian Chesely 2007, the Mildred Davis household 2008, Donnell Clemons 2008, Toto Kaiyewu 2009, Kiwane Carrington 2009, Darin Mitchell 2011, Gary McFarland 2011, Calvin Miller 2011, and all those who don't come forward, this sort of thing doesn't appear to have any end in sight until the public demands the police get themselves under control and the public demands the lawyers stop giving this sort of stuff legal cover. If it weren't for the brave person who released this video, we would have had to settle for another one of Chief Finney's lies. The militarization of the police has gone on long enough, and the good/honest officers don't deserve to have their reputations maligned because Lt. Paulus chooses to cover up more aggressive tactics he approves of.

Rock586 wrote on May 02, 2012 at 4:05 pm

I think some of these so called experts need to take ride with officers on a Friday night and see what really goes on. By some of these comments they have no clue.

Local Yocal wrote on May 04, 2012 at 9:05 am
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I think the above expert needs to go to the courthouse on a Monday and see what really  goes on. The above comment indicates they are ignorant of the real violation in this matter, or are using the FOP tactic of the guilt trip to help cover for this violation.

natebaux wrote on May 02, 2012 at 5:05 pm

yea, then you can see the abuse, lies, and coruption first hand.

why do you think they fought soo hard to prevent video recording of arrests?

kyedpa5 wrote on May 02, 2012 at 6:05 pm

Yes, its a very stressful and tough job.  Police officers have the highest suicide rate in our nation and it takes an incredible amount of bravery to pursue such a career.  But part of what is amazing about what officers do is that they maintain professionalism and integrity in the most intense situations every single day.  Unfortunately, this officer did not maintain that professionalism and integrity.  When you suggest that officers can use aggression and brutality without geniune provocation from their suspect because they work a tough and dangerous job is an insult to the amount of integrity and professionalism that 99.99% of police serve with every single day.  

Also, I have rode with officers Champaign, Urbana, the county, and the University's department.  I have also done much research both academically, through programs run by local law enforcement, and on my own because I was initially pursuing this career.  I chose not to pursue this career mainly because I was afraid that I may not be able to maintain this type of professionalism under such intense circumstances and stress.  

robjoe99 wrote on May 02, 2012 at 8:05 pm

What do people think the police are supposed to do when a suspect resists arrest, ask his permission to take him to jail, let him go because he is resisting.  How about this, let the police do their job.  I am not saying to to use unneccessary force, but quit complaining when the police have to use force because the bad guy is resisting.  What do you want the police to do if you are being beat by an attacker, do you want him to get the attacker off you by whatever means necessary, or, do you want him to stand there and politely ask him to refrain from battering you ( because you don't like it when police use force).  Where is all the uproar when a police officer gets hurt trying to help or save someone from a criminal.  You never hear about that.  Try walking a day in their shoes, I bet you see different. 

rsp wrote on May 02, 2012 at 11:05 pm

I would like them to start using "verbal judo" again. Seems like ages since I've heard that term. Went through the Citizens Police Academy and it wasn't mentioned once. I don't think they train them how to deescalate a situation as much as they train to meet violence with violence. If both sides are thinking it's "us vs. them" the situation can too easily escalate. 

Rock586 wrote on May 03, 2012 at 9:05 am

Verbal judo?  Many on the streets tell the Police to Blank off, you can't arrest me, or ignore them. Verbal Judo will do nothing with this total lack of respect of Law Enforcement.  Obey the police of go to jail, whatever it takes. The police are trained to win, not drive off.

Local Yocal wrote on May 03, 2012 at 12:05 pm
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"The police are trained to win, not drive off."

A perfect encapsulation of what's wrong with police training nowadays, and why the younger recruits have zero people skills and are unable to carry on a conversation with the average citizen. Somebody tell the police they are not at war when they are on patrol.

Local Yocal wrote on May 03, 2012 at 5:05 am
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@robjoe99: What video were you looking at? The subject in this case "beat a police officer?" The subject in this case was "an attacker?" The "bad guy was resisting?" We suggest you review the tape again. An overweight, out of shape police officer, Patrick Simons, was able to guide a subject with one hand on a shoulder while holding his jumbo cannister of pepper spray to a squad car, the subject put his hands on the hood of the squad car, and was speaking with his hands, You really call that an "attack?" And this particular subject had extraordinary expertise in hand-to-hand combat. He could have easily escaped Simons' ill advised escalation of the situation had he wanted to. 

No. What we are seeing from the police apologists is their perceptions of a black man cussing out an officer while questioning the officer's actions. As we can always say in Champaign County: had this happened to the one of the white U of I students who were jaywalking all over that tape too, the officer's and the community's reactions would have been a whole lot different. But if a black man throws out a few expletives, then we are "under physical attack." Lions and tigers and bears, oh my!

What's particularly sad about this situation is that Sgt. Lakke and Co. should have made this subject a prized recruit to be on the police force, rather than a subject of their racially profiling ways by following the kid from the Clyborne bar on Sixth Street. Were people of his skill and demeanor on the force, the trend would be toward de-esculation instead of push-button escalation with tasers, cans of pepper spray, and Glock pistols.

Local Yocal wrote on May 05, 2012 at 11:05 am
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@robjoe99: "I am not saying to to use unneccessary force,..."

That's the issue, those of us who have watched the video tape believe Officer Simons', Officer Aschell's and Officer Prosser's use of force to be unnecessary in this particular case.

Imagining opponents to the unnecessary actions taken in the June 5th incident to also be against police officers using force during an imaginary justifiable scenario is clutter to this debate. No thanks for putting those words into our mouths.

I bet you would see better if you were blasted in the face with that pepper spray for questioning an officer as to why he suddenly nabs you off the street- which was this kid's perception. The officer had a duty to explain to the subject what was going on if the officer was actually interested in the young man's safety while crossing an intersection. 

Simons did NOT have to escalate the situation into an episode of "Who's Boss?" Not discussed by even the CPD command staff is how Officer Simons' approach jeopardized his own safety along with every driver and pedestrian in the area. See why racism is super stupid, kids at home?

GeneralLeePeeved wrote on May 03, 2012 at 3:05 pm

....well we all know what's coming next don't we?  Now that the city has essentially admitted some level of culpability, how long will it take before the civil suit is filed.....3...2....1

natebaux wrote on May 04, 2012 at 4:05 pm

GOOD!!

im tired of getting pulled over with excuses of "we received a report of...."

the cops are just the business end of the money machine the courts operate.

ever deal with a u of i cop? major attitude. they are trained to treat people like children. they bully you to the point of provocation in hopes that you lose your cool just in time for their buddies to show up and literally circle the wagons around you. fact: it takes 4 campus cops to deal with one person.

a well funded, poilitcally sanctioned, gang of theives. just replace the choppers & harleys with police cruisers. they ride around blowing thru stoplights, shooting anyone that gets in their way, then pick over the spoils of war to fund their crusade.

natebaux wrote on May 04, 2012 at 3:05 pm

@local yocal

on target, once again. i would love to speak with someone of your perceptions. lunch?

Local Yocal wrote on May 05, 2012 at 12:05 am
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@natebaux:  the kind of people you are looking to speak with will be gathering at the Urbana Municipal Building on Friday, May 11, from 6:00 p.m- 8:00 p.m.

This Local Yocal, as some of the FOP thugs would tell you, doesn't know jack- though it would be so much better for their propoganda website here if LY would shut the heck up. That darn squad car video makes it look like LY knows what he's talking about. That's the last squad car video you citizens will ever see, by the way, so don't have your pointy headed defense attorneys subpoena any more of them, cause we're only gonna' go by what the police reports say like in the good 'ol days. The job is hard enough without you people expecting truth to be part of the jailing process. Where's a good police chief like 'ol R.T. Finney when you need one?

thorx wrote on May 06, 2012 at 10:05 am

Why is there so much about race with this incident? I didn't see or hear anything racial in the video.  But I guess we'll have to agree to disagree on that point.  But I have a son that is a "white" student at the UI and if he was belligerent with an officer I'd be mad at him, not the officer. 

Bottom line, violent crime on campus had reached an intolerable level and police have to do what they need to for securing the area.  Either don't go to campus if you don't want to be involved in a possible volatile incident at that time of night or just act like a reasonable person if you get stopped.

And by the way, even though this is obviously a divisive issue that the two sides will never agree on, I do think it's a good to have the dialogue. 

 

Local Yocal wrote on May 06, 2012 at 12:05 pm
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"Why is there so much about race with this incident? I didn't see or hear anything racial in the video." Actually, when Officer Simons arrives to the area at 5th and Green, he has a conversation with another officer about the fact, "...they are with these white kids." Officers had made their patrol about race. Also, Officer Simons' squad car video shows that he ignored the jaywalking of the various white students seen on the video. The so-called "belligerent" behavior on the part of the group of black pedestrians was probably provoked by the selective enforcement the on-foot patrol officers are engaging in by following this particular group. We can't be sure why the black pedestrians were upset with officers since the City of Champaign did not release the interviews investigators apparently had with the civilian witnesses at the scene.

"Bottom line, violent crime on campus had reached an intolerable level and police have to do what they need to for securing the area." We agree police should protect against violent crime, but we'll have to disagree that picking fights with black people, as police are seen doing on the video tape, has anything to do with bringing security to the area.

On behalf of the police, who do have to deal with the longstanding campus violence problem, what police can do to secure the area (which would not be popular) would be:

1) Demand the bars be mandated to allow only 21 year-olds into their alcohol establishments like the rest of the freakin' State of Illinois. There are only 4 towns in all of Illinois that allow this 18 year-old entry nonsense: Macomb, Carbondale, and the other two towns class?....Urbana and Champaign. Unless police can provide statistics that drunken 18-19-20 year olds have no bearing on the incidents of violent crime on campus, perhaps we should raise the entry age to see if that lowers the violent crime rate.

2) Demand the bars be closed at 1:00 a.m., maybe even 12:00 a.m. If statistics were to show that most perpetrators of violent crime on campus were drunk at the time of their crime; and violent crimes on campus happen most often after 12:00 a.m.; maybe we should experiment with an earlier closing time.

3) Demand that perpetrators of violent crime on campus be prosecuted and sentenced with a minimum of 60 days of jail time. (Obviously, incidents of rape or serious bodily injury would be a more serious prison sentence) No more case dismissed just because the fistfighting perp is a U of I athlete or student.

4) Demand that student perpetrators of violent crime be thrown out of school. The U of I could help the deterrence effect if there was certainty that if you screw up at this Big Ten school, you won't be attending this Big Ten school.

5) Demand that the cost of extra manpower to create a presence on campus be passed on to the Campus Bar Association or becomes tied into the cost of a liquor license. You contribute to the problem, you'll help clean up the problem.

6) Work with residence halls and dormitories to determine what the needs are and determine if there is a patrol strategy that would be helpful.

I place no blame on the police for the existence of violent crime on campus. Policing is a reactive profession, and they usually are always going to be 20 minutes too late to an incident. We don't have three psychics in a dunk tank predicting what is going to happen next for them to "prevent crime."

These ideas are predicated on alcohol, late night drinking, the immaturity of the drinkers, and the U of I students are what's fueling the violence. I don't really know since the police publicity departments do little in providing a real statistical analysis of the incidents of violent crime. What, When, Where, How, and Who are not given a last-200- incidents study. Jeez, you'd think in a place where there exists a super computer, a College of Psychology, and plenty of paperwork police and prosecutors have to fill out, we'd know the predominant trends of who is most likely to commit a violent crime, and why a violent crime is more likely to happen. We'd have better strategy if we knew this information and the community would have a better understanding if we knew what the police were doing and why; and the police could better direct their patrols to be more effective. The school districts and the U of I could participate in educating the citizenry as to how violent crime happens. And it's not always "the loner, sociopath" who cruises from town to town to prey on human flesh that is the source of our problems. Police should be gathering the real information, since they do have it, so we can design some possible solutions.

For example, the U of I police used to publish the fact that 80% of aggravated batteries on campus were alcohol-related; and 90% of sexual assaults were done by an acquaintance of the victim and 80%+ were alcohol-related.

Instead, police and prosecutors are acting like a secretive, paramilitary batallion whose top priority is to catch black guys. For the sake of the good officers who are just trying to do a job- knock that attitude off. Work with the community instead of against it.

"...I do think it's a good to have the dialogue."  As my enthusiasm for the subject makes clear, I 100% agree with you about that. Thanks for participating.

common_sense_isn't wrote on May 08, 2012 at 11:05 am

Why are people in this town so reluctant to consider that any act of violence, by the police or otherwise, might have been racially motivated?  Look around Green St. on any given night.  There are crowds of white students behaving "obnoxiously" and none of them end up pepper sprayed and slammed on the hood of a squad car.  When things like this happen again and again, it's called a pattern, not a bunch of random events that have nothing to do with race.  Instead of being outraged at the way this young man was treated, white people in this town immediately justify all over the place, insisting that race couldn't possibly be the issue.  Look how long it took to investigate, and how quickly the citizen complaint was dismissed the first time.  Do you really think it was random that it was a black student that was singled out of a crowd fo jaywalking of all things?  Also, let's talk about the student designation.  This kid was a student, not a thug. He had every right to be where he was and was deserving of the same respect and courtesy as any other student on that campus.   Why are people so quick to label this guy a thug?  Do you think all black people are thugs? Have you seen his criminal record (or lack thereof) and determined that it warrants that designation? If not, such a label traditionally applied to black men with criminal records is quite racist (cue the "I'm not a racist just because I hate black people, they should all go back to the city where they came from cause middle-of-nowhere Illinois is only for white folks" defense).  Bottom line, the police in Champaign-Urbana do not walk around pepper spraying and roughing up people routinely, so on the rare occasion that they do, it should probably get scrutinized, and it's awfully suspicious that all their "incidents" seem to involve racial minorities.