Champaign City Council considers settlements

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign City Council is considering making payments to two people with claims against the city following their arrests and one woman who fell at the entrance to a city fire station.

The council will discuss the proposed settlements at a meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the City Building, 102 N. Neil St.

The council will consider these three settlements:

— $50,000 to Gary McFarland of Champaign to settle a claim involving his arrest on Oct. 1, 2011.

— $45,000 to Brandon Ward of Champaign to settle a claim involving his arrest on June 5, 2011.

— $42,000 to Barbara Griffiths for injuries she received when she slipped and fell at the entrance to a fire station at 2315 W. John St. on Dec. 4, 2008.

In a memo to the council, City Manager Steven Carter said that Griffiths' claim is pending in court.

"The Ward and McFarland claims have not yet been filed, but there would be reasonable probability of filing if the claims are not settled," Carter wrote in the memo.

Carter said there has been agreement on a possible settlement in the Ward and McFarland cases.

McFarland had said during a press conference last October that he had his jaw wired shut after an incident with Champaign police. McFarland said he was knocking on the door of a home when a police officer allegedly approached him from behind and maced him, put him in handcuffs and broke his jaw.

Court records indicate that McFarland was charged with resisting a police officer and criminal trespass to property. That case was later dismissed as part of a plea agreement after McFarland pleaded guilty to possession of cannabis during an unrelated incident.

Ward was stopped by police for jaywalking at the intersection of Fourth and Green streets.

According to a video, a police officer then pepper-sprayed Ward after bringing him back to the squad car and later grabbed Ward's neck while he was in the back seat.

Charges against Ward were dropped by State's Attorney Julia Rietz after Ward's lawyer complained that his client was subjected to pepper spray for resisting arrest.

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