Updated: Bardo criticizes police in arrest of Darius Paul

Updated: Bardo criticizes police in arrest of Darius Paul

Former University of Illinois basketball star Stephen Bardo says Champaign is "stuck in the '60s" and that area police are "known for racial profiling."

In a phone conversation with The News-Gazette on Thursday, the former Flyin' Illini star said the recent situation involving current UI basketball player Darius Paul struck a chord with him.

"We used to get stopped walking down the street because it was night time. We used to get picked out of a group if there was a big brawl outside of a campus bar and we would always get singled out. It was constant back then," said Bardo, who played at Illinois from 1986-90.

Bardo says the gap has closed some, but there's still a divide, using an experience his son, Stephen Paul Bardo, a UI senior, dealt with recently.

"It's still there because my son was pulled off a bus before because some other black kids were fighting in the dorm and he was the only black kid on the bus so he was pulled off the bus and detained," Bardo said. "It happens far more than people really know about because a lot of this stuff goes undocumented."

Commenting on the arrest of University of Illinois basketball player Darius Paul, Bardo, an analyst for BTN said the following on Twitter:

 

It's not the first time the outspoken Bardo has ruffled Illini feathers.

In his book on the Flyin' Illini released in late 2013, Bardo took a shot at former Illini Ken Norman and the program's all-time winningest coach, Lou Henson.

While Henson remained quiet afterward, Norman spoke out.

“One day we’ll come face to face, and I hope I’m in grandpa mode," Norman said. "What Steve said about me is untrue ... it’s garbage.”

Later Thursday, Brandon Paul, Darius' brother who played at Illinois from 2009-10 through 2012-2013, added his thoughts via his Twitter account

 

The subject of racial profiling was brought up during beat writer Marcus Jackson's weekly online chat Wednesday. 

The question posed to Jackson: "As (1) a relatively recent college student, (2) former college athlete, (3) African-American, (4) college basketball sportswriter, and (5) Champaign resident, you have a  unique perspective into the recent arrest and the subsequent firestorm.  There is no one with your vantage.  I know you weren't there, but I would be very interested to hear whatever thoughts you are comfortable sharing regarding the facts and subsequent developments."

HIs answer: "Personally, I have never been approached or questioned by police while walking around Champaign late after a night of drinking. I've walked by police in those situations and I have never been bothered.

"I will share a quick story from college. Some friends, a few teammates included, and I were out late, had been drinking and were on an area of campus we shouldn't have been. You could say we looked suspicious. So some campus police shined their lights on us. A few of them ran. Myself and another person did not. For some reason, in that instant I just knew that wasn't the wise move. The officers asked what we were doing, why we were there. We didn't really have any good reason and told them as much. They asked if we had been drinking. We said yes. We were honest with them and they let us go.

"That's my experience in a similar situation. It doesn't always go down like that and with so many stories in recent years of young black men being harrassed unnecessarily by police, I can understand the fear and mistrust some have in dealing with authorities. I've been lucky that hasn't been my experience."

What's your take? Ask columnist Tom Kacich here

 

 

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787 wrote on April 24, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Mr. Bardo-- Would this include the same Champaign which has Anthony Cobb as its Police Chief?

Really Steve.... stop making yourself the center of attention, at the expense of others.  It is getting a little old.

GoIllini777 wrote on April 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Champaign has a black police chief, thus there cannot be any racism in Champaign. Brilliant.

787 wrote on April 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Wow.  Did I say that?   No.


Go find someone else to troll.

DaisyJ wrote on April 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

Here we go again,. the africans americans spotting racism. It is good they are here to point it out.

Will they ever get over blaming white people for their problems.

To think that Bardo was given a scholarship to play here and he never complained till he got his free education and perks of playing.

He owes the fans an appology for what he said about Henson and the police.

He is part of the stereotype.

 

STM wrote on April 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

You seem to be taking this personally Daisy.  You're making broad accusations against the African American community.  Bardo was expressing an opinion as well. I don't believe he owes anyone an apology.  You might, however.

 

DaisyJ wrote on April 25, 2014 at 9:04 am

Please Steve, stop with the I am african, I am discriminated against.

SaintClarence27 wrote on April 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

It will take a LONG time for Cobb to undo the damage done by his predecessor(s). I hope he succeeds.

DaisyJ wrote on April 25, 2014 at 10:04 pm

We have to re-examine the attempt by the african community to infer that anyone not black have racist tendancies. It makes it impossible when they go around with chips on their shoulders from the horrible treatment they ancestors indured. Enough of the whining. Enough of it.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on April 26, 2014 at 10:04 pm
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Yes, DaisyJ, life is so hard.  Black people still have to endure some hardships based on their race, but that's nothing compared to the hardship us white folks have to endure by listening to them complain about it.  Clearly, we are the real victims here.

[/sarcasm]

justFYI wrote on April 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm
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Of course the News Regrets left out the best quote: "ok let's say the Champaign community supports racist behavior."

He continued to support this idea that the community as a whole is racist, and doesn't attempt to make minorities feel welcome. I honestly wonder if he even read the original article, because he didn't seem to understand where and when this took place in the context of campus.

And of course, he thinks that you only understand racism if you're black. Because no other groups are ever discriminated against.

I believe that calling an entire community racist is just as, if not more prejudicial than claiming that some officers profile segments of a community based on race.

I've lived here my whole life. I don't believe for a second that racism is OVERT, as he suggests. I am sure that it exists here. But overt? I mean come on, I haven't seen the KKK burning crosses or white supremacists marching down main street. I have seen community groups take over city council meetings in a hostile manner however. Just saying....

UIUCHoopFan wrote on April 24, 2014 at 5:04 pm

And Mr Bardo wonders why he no longer works for ESPN! Perhaps he failed to understand the part of Mr Paul's story where he ran from police? Public intoxication is an offense no matter what time it is or the color of a person's skin. Run from a police officer when asked to stop and the problem has compounded for ALL parties involved. Want to avoid contact with law enforcement? Don't break the law! Pretty simple stuff.

Beem wrote on April 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Bardo's "example" about his son makes no sense the way it is written. Even if I'm able to figure out what he's trying to say, it doesn't sound like racism. If "authority figures" are trying to figure out an incident, it is likely that they question or detain similar demographic individuals if that's all they have to go on. In his example, if it would have been Asian kids fighting, chances are the only Asian kid on the bus would have been detained.

Beem wrote on April 24, 2014 at 6:04 pm

Bardo's "example" about his son makes no sense the way it is written. Even if I'm able to figure out what he's trying to say, it doesn't sound like racism. If "authority figures" are trying to figure out an incident, it is likely that they question or detain similar demographic individuals if that's all they have to go on. In his example, if it would have been Asian kids fighting, chances are the only Asian kid on the bus would have been detained.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on April 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm
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This kind of attitude is why people are upset.

You shouldn't have to be bothered by the police just because someone of your same skin color did something suspicious somewhere else.

prideCU wrote on April 24, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Stop playing the race card! If you did something illegal, you will get into trouble just like everyone else! The police have every right to stop someone in public at such an early hour. Perhaps the fact this person ran is what caused his arrest? This reminds me of a news story of a black kid who ran from a cop when walking in a park after the park was closed. He and the community activists claimed racism-yet the article mentioned the arresting officer was black. SMDH!

Andy wrote on April 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I hate to say this as a True Illini fan, but first you throw some teamates/coach under the bus, and now this! No need to start the race stuff it has nothing to do with it. Any teenage kids regardless of race out at 3 in the morning should be asked what there doing. Only a good lesson can come from this situation for Darius, glad he is still part of the team! Go ILLINI

Beem wrote on April 24, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I don't think his kid was pulled off the bus half way across town. There had to be some relevance to where he was and where the fight took place. You really think the MTD and/or police just started detaining black kids all across town?

Importantlocalopinion wrote on April 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Yes

trysomethingnew wrote on April 24, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Champaign Police are THE MOST RACIST police force in our area. Not only do most of the police officers (including the two black officers y'all think they have) don't even live in Champaign. The city has to pay them a stipend and even then every white officer lives in small white towns. Now why is that?????? Doesn't sound very community orientated to me. Also I can call the police and say I saw someone with a gun they ignore me. A white woman call and say she saw a "bm" according to their language acting suspicious, bam you got sweaty Cobb, the most out of shape cop, and he's the one in charge mind you, and the whole police force surrounding this guy but they don't know why the black community won't tell them things! They only listen when they want. Julia Rietz as far as I'm concerned co-signs this racism in the way she charges people. It's hard to be black in Champaign. I'm not just saying that! 

DaisyJ wrote on April 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

REAL RACISM ENDED YEARS AGO. This is people thinking this is racism. Get out  your history books, you have no idea how good things today are for all races....cry me a river.

DaisyJ wrote on April 24, 2014 at 10:04 pm

I HAVE a good source that saw the police officer force Darius to drink alcohol, then, convinced him to run if a policman called for him to stop. We all need to believe me, and believe Darius, and Steven Bardo.

I remember seeing lots of white fans cheering for Steve when he played, but down deep they were racist and never meant it, really they were faking it. I was wondering when this would all come out.

jjohnson wrote on April 25, 2014 at 7:04 am

daisy, that should embarrass you. Race may or may not have been an issue, but we do not live in a police state. Stop and think (which may be tough); there was no warrant for arrest, yet because he runs he becomes a criminal and can be arrested? I don't know current Illinois criminal law, but if running from a policeman is in fact a crime, I hope someone will cite the statute to inform me. 

jjohnson wrote on April 25, 2014 at 7:04 am

daisy, that should embarrass you. Race may or may not have been an issue, but we do not live in a police state. Stop and think (which may be tough); there was no warrant for arrest, yet because he runs he becomes a criminal and can be arrested? I don't know current Illinois criminal law, but if running from a policeman is in fact a crime, I hope someone will cite the statute to inform me. 

chuckles wrote on April 25, 2014 at 8:04 am

I am a townie. Both my sons have been stopped and given a ticket for drinking as a minor when they were teens. They are white and tall, and could be mistaken as basketball players. Bardo, quit playing the race card and stick to Big 10 broadcasts.  

Importantlocalopinion wrote on April 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

Both your kids? Poor parenting?

STM wrote on April 25, 2014 at 11:04 am

787, no you didn't "say" it.  You inferred it.  It's just like saying something without saying it.  You were called out rightly. Get over it.

illini81baller wrote on April 25, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Daisy J! What world do you live in? And I guess we should forget the holocaust too. We live in the most racially divided times. Travon Martin ring a bell! Questioning the President’s citizenship! The unequal amount of black and brown people in prison compared to the population! The Supreme Court ruling on the unjust stop and searches in New York City. Do I need to go any further? Racism is alive and well in the United States. To the others who said Stephen should basically “stay in his place”. You sound like Don Johnson’s character in Django and probably just as smart. He has the right to comment on anything he pleases. Or did we forget the right to free speech. Besides he is an authority on being African-American. To all of you who want these topics to go away. If you keep closing your eyes to the world in which we exist, shut down dialogue, and refuse to listen to others opinions you remain ignorant. Wake UP! The reason why he was initially asked to stop was for “looking suspicious”. . Police officer; explain how he was looking to make you want to know who he was in the first place. "Looking suspicious" is just too much of a catch all phrase. All I see he is guilty of was acting like a scared young man not wanting to get in trouble and that has turned into a crime. To the Officer ... Good  "CYA" justifying your wrong doing makes you look real smart.

Importantlocalopinion wrote on April 25, 2014 at 7:04 pm

No illini feathers ruffled here, as an illini fan I completely agree that there is racism here. It shown by this case, by the racial profiling in traffic stops, and the fact that a unarmed teenage boy can be shot and there are no consequences. Oh, also it is shown by those in the community that are so eager to defend cops no matter the data/particular situations that conflict with their idyllic notion of their community. If their kids were getting tackled and shot out on the south-west side of town then they would try to understand a little better.

justiceserver wrote on April 25, 2014 at 8:04 pm

I agree with Steve.  I ran across this very recent link on YouTube under Champaign Police abuse. I actual heard about this in March from people who had witnessed the event. The police were called for a civilian stand by, which is where the police act as a third party in matters where crimes have not been commited, to settle common disputes.When these officers arrived they brought violence and pain to an unarmed man who had comitted no crime. There is currently a cover-up underway as this person is currently facing charges stemming from his false arrest.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d35MiRz0vR8

RPeterE wrote on April 26, 2014 at 8:04 am

Wow! Just Wow! Look at all the closet racists come out. Talk about ignorance.

townsend1306 wrote on April 27, 2014 at 12:04 pm

after reading most of the responds you people don't have a clue when somebody trying to tell you something that happens,  you can come up with every excuse instead of saying, maybe there is some truth behind this. I have been stop 5 times on my bike by Champaign police no reason and twice by the same cop just because my bike was nice and, it was registered. So all you people, explain to me how you can be acting suspicious walking across a parking lot, dasiy mae J?,  I  said before Bill Self couldnt get the best players out of Chicago when he was at Illinois but he sure can do that now he is at Kansas !!! Chief Illini as a racist symbol you didnt want to get rid of that, but the NCAA made you! you people dog the kids out if they lose a game, that why  you have to get transfer's  to have a good team there are always bad seeds in any program white or black but racisim exist in Champaign by the police I'm living proof !  If don't believe me go to traffic court !!!!!!!   

nndsmom wrote on April 28, 2014 at 11:04 am

Racism doesn't exist within the police force locally?  As the white mother of a biracial teenage son I assure you it does.  It exists there and in the community at large.  You think I don't notice how differently he is treated when people don't notice that I am with him versus when I walk up and make myself known as his mother?

Oh yes, racism is alive and well in C-U.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on May 05, 2014 at 4:05 am
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To be fair, almost all of the biracial people I have met say they experience more racism from black people than white people.  Although, they receive plenty from both.

townsend1306 wrote on April 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Thank you , lady for saying that about you and your son, if the rest of you people would just start listening maybe we could come to together and make our town a better place and get the 5-star players we want ! as you can tell this is a hot topic, and don't think the Chicago high school coaches don't read the papers or are not aware what go on in Champaign with the fans and the police !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

 

MDH21 wrote on April 29, 2014 at 3:04 pm

There is irony in all of this. Many of you are saying that the City of Champaign and it's PD are racist. Many of you are either saying directly or implying that they stopped Darious that night based on his color and that they were pre-judging him. The funny thing about all of this is that Champaign PD did not arrest him, and that credit belongs to the University of Illinois PD.

j.dexter wrote on May 01, 2014 at 12:05 pm

Will somebody please FOIA the police report so we can have an informed discussion using the entire story rather than assumptions and half truths derived from incomplete and vague statements made during the original interview.

krfink wrote on May 01, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Looking at the police report would be good.  Right now, it looks like all the police have said as "evidence" of their reason to stop Paul is that he was acting "suspiciously."  That reason only reflects the state of mind of the police officers, and it is not a good reflection.  What was Paul actually doing, other than walking across a parking lot at night, to cause the officers to have a state of mind of "suspicion"?  Unless that question is answered adequately by the police officers, then the police officers are giving no real explanation to justify stopping Paul, and the police officers' conduct, not Paul's conduct, begins to look "suspicious."  Would arresting someone for no valid reason be acting "suspiciously"?  I believe it is a crime called false arrest.  If so, then if no adequate explanation of what Paul was doing to cause reasonable "suspicion" in the minds of the police officers is forthcoming, then perhaps another policer officer ought to arrest the suspiciously-acting police officers and charge them with false arrest.