After online video of altercation, Cobb urges public to let police do job
CHAMPAIGN — Champaign police say an altercation between a police officer and a Champaign man that has been featured on an Internet video happened after the officer was "aggressively approached by a citizen while performing his police duties."
The video was on YouTube on Wednesday afternoon.
"It is never okay for a citizen to take matters into their own hands and fight with a police officer," said Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb in a written statement. "In these types of situations, it is better to let the officer complete the call and continue gathering information. This situation could have been avoided if both parties would have cooperated and allowed the officer to perform his duties. Fortunately, neither the officer nor the offender was seriously injured in this incident."
According to a police report, Officer Cully Schweska was called to the 1500 block of North Prospect Avenue at 9:16 p.m. Sunday after he was told that a woman with an active Champaign County warrant may have been seen at the Mobil Super Pantry.
Police later learned that there was no active warrant for the woman's arrest.
When the woman walked out of the store, Schweska tried to detain her and verify whether there was a warrant for her arrest.
At that point, a man, later identified as Charles W. Grindley, 37, who listed an address in the 1000 block of West Beardsley Avenue, Champaign, intervened and "aggressively approached Officer Schweska," according to Champaign police spokeswoman Rene Dunn.
"Grindley then continued to ignore the officer's directives to not interfere with the investigation," Dunn said. "Grindley approached Officer Schweska with both fists clenched and used profanity to inform him that he would not be allowed to take the female subject anywhere."
According to the report, Schweska radioed for assistance.
Dunn said that, when Schweska tried to prevent Grindley from interfering, Grindley swung a closed fist at him.
"Both became entangled in a physical altercation, part of which was captured on the Internet video," Dunn said. "During the altercation, Grindley continued to resist the officers even after (pepper) spray was deployed. As Grindley was secured in handcuffs, he spat at and continued to yell obscenities at the officers."
Both Schweska and Grindley received injuries in the face. Both were treated at Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana and released.
Grindley was arrested for aggravated battery, resisting/obstructing a peace officer and transported to the Champaign County Jail.
Grindley was charged on Monday with aggravated battery to a police officer. He is due back in court in the case on May 13.
Ashley Johnson, 30, who listed an address in Savoy, ran away from the scene. She was later found in the 1500 block of Highland Avenue and arrested for resisting or obstructing a peace officer.
Johnson was charged on Monday with resisting a peace officer. She is due back in court on May 14.