UI basketball player arrested

UI basketball player arrested

Josh Whitman talks Leron Black Saturday at 9 a.m. on WDWS.

Afternoon update: Bond set at $5,000

URBANA — A University of Illinois men’s basketball player was arrested late Thursday for allegedly pulling a knife on a bouncer at an Urbana nightclub.

University of Illinois Police Lt. Tom Geis said Leron Black, 20, of Champaign, was arrested for aggravated assault, a felony, after he allegedly threatened a security employee of the Canopy Club, 708 Goodwin, U.

Geis said Lt. Joe McCullough was on patrol in the 1100 block of South Nevada in front of the club when he was flagged down by security staff. People in the crowd were pointing at Black and telling McCullough that Black had a knife, Geis said.

Black had started to walk away but McCullough took him to the ground, Geis said, and Black complied with his orders.

Other police officers showed up to help. Geis said about 15 feet from where Black was taken to the ground, officers found an open folding knife.

Geis said the security guard told police that Black and others were inside the club and that security was trying to remove people when “Black became very belligerent and hostile toward the security guard,” Geis said.

“(Black) yelled ‘I don’t have a strap but I’m not afraid to cut somebody,’ ” Geis said. “Then the security guard said he pulled the knife, opened it and put it within 1 to 2 inches of his nose.”

Geis said the security guard identified both Black and the knife.

Geis said that Black told police he was frustrated at how his girlfriend was being treated by security staff.

“He felt the bouncers were unfair and that his group should not have been kicked out,” Geis said. “Black told them he pulled the knife because he felt the bouncers would have the upper hand on him physically.”

Black was the only person arrested for the alleged assault.

Geis said nine police officers, six from Urbana and three from the UI, assisted in quelling the commotion. He said representatives of the DIA were contacted after Black’s arrest.

Black is expected to make a court appearance Friday afternoon, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. State’s Attorney Julia Rietz said she will file a charge of aggravated assault against Black, a Class 4 felony based on the fact that he had a knife and that the victim was a private security officer. Penalties upon conviction range from probation to 1-3 years in prison.

Black, a sophomore forward from Memphis, Tenn., averaged 4.4 points and 4.4 rebounds in 14.3 minutes over the seven games he played in this season before suffering a knee injury.

Coach John Groce released a statement Friday morning, saying "We are aware of the incident involving Leron Black. He has been suspended indefinitely from all team activities as we await the legal process."

He averaged 5.0 points and 4.3 rebounds a game as a freshman in 14.8 minutes per game.

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Jsmith68 wrote on February 19, 2016 at 10:02 am

Wow not even a day on the job and Josh Whitman has his first issue. I hope U of I starts recruiting students based on character and ability. 

Class of 92 wrote on February 19, 2016 at 10:02 am
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I was thinking the same thing. What a way to welcome our new AD. And by Black? I've never been a fan, because the guy always plays angry; he's a foul machine. Very rough and ungraceful style on the court, but not in a good way when you don't score or rebound much. Now I'm wondering if we're catching a glimpse of where that undisciplined style of play comes from. Bye Leron. Hopefully this incident puts you on a better path. (But not on our basketball team.) This just made the already short leash on Groce that much shorter.

annabellissimo wrote on February 20, 2016 at 1:02 am

I'm neither excusing nor defending him, whether it's about his behavior on or off the basketball court. However, when it comes to his style of playing, wouldn't you guess that he was recruited BECAUSE of his style of play? It's doubtful that he developed a whole new style of play once he arrived here. I haven't seen him play all that much because of the injury. I do remember a player in the NBA who was often criticized for being the kind of player you describe. Bill Laimbeer of the Detroit Pistons was/is his name and he was a large, aggressive player. There is apparently a place for that style of playing in basketball but, like you, I don't like it. I hope Leron Black turns himself around because a tendency to react violently or threateningly will lead nowhere good.

wayward wrote on February 19, 2016 at 10:02 am

Hey, given that Josh Whitman is a lawyer, maybe he can serve as a defense attorney as well as the Illinois AD. :)

khbdab wrote on February 19, 2016 at 10:02 am

Bye scholarship, bye team, hello to reality. Play stupid games you win stupid prizes.

stingray1970 wrote on February 19, 2016 at 10:02 am
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Cotton Club weekend has begun!

Champaign Co. Firecracker wrote on February 19, 2016 at 11:02 am

Julia Reitz continues to delay aggravated assult charges on Officr Matt Rush, but rushes to judgement in charging a normal citizen.

Hopeflly she's voted out of office this election year and I'm willng to help campaign aginst her.  


FormerChargerIllini wrote on February 19, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Right?! No knife-wielding individual threatening people should be charged until that completely unrelated case is resolved! Talk about dereliction of duty.

rsp wrote on February 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

There are different laws in place for police officers, and it's unlikely she would get a conviction. Stop and think about the witnesses. On the other hand here you have the knife and the victim plus multiple witnisses. And he gave a statement as to why he pulled that knife. Alcohol and knives don't mix.

wayward wrote on February 19, 2016 at 12:02 pm

Seriously, it's kind of troubling that a few hours after a basketball player was arrested for pulling a knife on a bouncer at an on-campus bar, a convicted felon was arrested at the same bar with a gun.  And it seems like the violent crime on campus in general has been increasing over the last several years.

rsp wrote on February 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I was kind of impressed at the fact they were so on top of it. No tolerance at all.

TyroneHogglegg wrote on February 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Are you not familiar with the wonderful "Canopy Club"?...It happens all the time there...

PortlandIllini wrote on February 19, 2016 at 12:02 pm

The first thing that chancellor and AD should do is to institute a policy that ALL students should have access to free  legal representation  in the unlikely event they are arrested while on campus.  Too many athletes get themselves into trouble with the law at Ilinois and other schools.   While the coachs cannot be responsible for the players conduct 24/7,  the university should assist them in getting fair treatment by the legal system.

 I commend Mr Black for not resisting arrest.  But he should say NOTHING to the police without legal counsel.






synopate wrote on February 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Students do get access to free legal representation in some areas, as long as they're enrolled at least six hours a semester. Felony criminal charges are not included, however.

ILL-annoyed wrote on February 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Why should he get free legal council? Because he is a student? A basketball player? I think he should get the same as everyone else. If he cannot afford a lawyer one will be appointed to him by the courts. That is the problem with kids these days. Too many of them are getting coddled when they shouldn't. If we start punishing these people then maybe they will stop breaking the law.

lcoil79 wrote on February 19, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Technically, it's not free.  It's rolled into the Student Fees that every student pays, whether they use the service or not.

rsp wrote on February 19, 2016 at 1:02 pm

I can't help but wonder how much his not being able to play has been a factor. Other incidents with other players have happened when they have been injured for long periods and unable to play. Many kids today don't have the coping skills they need.

Citizen1 wrote on February 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Coping skills, soaping skills.  A kid can't cope and you excuse pulling a knife on some guy doing his job.  Where is the basic common sense standard of behaviour?  Pull a knife on someone and you go to jail.  No ifs ands or buts regardless of skin color, ball playing skills, relationship with your mother, or whatever.

rsp wrote on February 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm

I'm not excusing anything. Where did I excuse his behavior? I'm suggesting there may be a relationship between someone identifying themselves as a basketball "star" and then when they are unable to be in that role what happens? Is there a relationship that should be looked into due to other issues with violence and drug problems.

In other words, can structural changes to programs help prevent problems down the road. It's easy to say it's the player who is at fault. But does the institution contribute to the problem?

TyroneHogglegg wrote on February 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Uh oh..UI needs to hire some Coping Coordinators...

annabellissimo wrote on February 19, 2016 at 5:02 pm

Everybody here virtually salivating at the opportunity to pile on to the Leron Black troubles, the University of Illinois troubles, John Groce and every related matter should take a minute and go watch Marcus Jackson's video about Leron Black. He doesn't sound like the "thug" you are jumping to judgement about. He did a wrong thing, a dangerous thing, according to the report, but you all are writing as if he's a hardened criminal! I don't know what is the right judgement in this case, and clearly he has to be suspended from the team, but one has to wonder about Illinois athletics: where are the adults? where the people who like to spout about molding young people, about the character development going on? Did anybody stop to think that a guy who came here to play basketball, had a knee injury, sits and sits and sits on the bench, might begin to have some "issues?" Was anything done to "guide" him at times other than as a performing ball player? I don't know what his background or character are, but Marcus Jackson's video doesn't describe a "thug" at all. Young men at that age have for as long as we've kept track occasionally made a bad decision and done something dangerous, wrong, stupid, criminal even. Think people. What are we really doing to and for our students and those who play sports? "

leftylib wrote on February 19, 2016 at 9:02 pm

what was the canopy club thinking for hosting lil durk?  A convicted felon and proud black gangster disciple.  Jeez, his manager was shot and killed less than a year ago. Shouldn't be surprised though, canopy club is known for these "performers" .  Lil durk has complained he's lost a lot of money cause he's had around 20 shows cancelled due to violence concerns. Shots fired after his concerts are not that rare. 

annabellissimo wrote on February 20, 2016 at 1:02 am

I think you raise some really important issues and they should be addressed by city and university authorities. Who is the owner and where is that kind of accountability? It is disconcerting that a business with the reputation you describe is located next to Timpone's and other OK establishments and very near Krannert. I hope the issues you raise get good attention from the "powers that be."

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on February 20, 2016 at 4:02 pm

This place is a magnet for thug behavior and you had a thug preforming there that night.  What do you expect?   why is there not an investigation by the City to CLOSE that place down.  Does the MFL  ( Mayor for Life) need that much revenue from this place?  Remember two hours AFTER this event, a felon with a gun was there.  The investigation should be more that Mr. Blacks behavior, it should be why this place is even open.............

Real McRealnameson wrote on February 22, 2016 at 1:02 pm

The show was put on by an outside promotor not connected to the Canopy Club. It was essentially a venue rental. The outside promoter set up the show, paid the artist, etc. The CC is not responible for the type of crowd that attended the show. In fact The CC should be commended for having a security team that was able to defuse the situation before it escalated into a much bigger fiasco. No one was hurt and the offendering party was quicky arrested. The CC hosts dozens of shows every semester. Some put on by The CC and others by outside promoters. Most of the shows are incident free. Of course most shows don't featuring a scary Black Rapper or are predominantly attended by scary Blacks/Browns so there's no clickbait attached to them.

alabaster jones 71 wrote on February 20, 2016 at 5:02 pm
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This comment section serves as a helpful reminder that "thug" is the new n-word, used by people who are bitter that it's no longer socially acceptable to call black people the n-word.

Tom Napier wrote on February 21, 2016 at 3:02 pm

Merriam Webster provides a Simple Definition of thug as ":a violent criminal," and a Full Definition as ":a brutal ruffian or assassin. " The Oxford Dictionary provides the following definitions: "1. A violent person, especially a criminal. 2. (historical) A member of a religious organization of robbers and assassins in India. Devotees of the goddess Kali, the Thugs waylaid their victims, usually travelers, in a ritually prescribed manner. They were suppressed by the British in the 1830s." Neither formal nor current usage suggests association with any race. My first recollections of the word "thug" comes from watching old gangster movies on TV ... sixty-some years ago. The thugs were all portrayed by white actors. I think "thug" is the new word used by people who are bitter that whites got all the violent criminal roles in 1930s Hollywood.

wilsona wrote on February 24, 2016 at 6:02 pm

Only took me about 2 seconds to find articles on the news-gazette site where people in the comments were referring to a caucasian subject as a "thug". Maybe you should stop looking at life through your racism colored glasses.


Check those comments if you want to see the word "thug" used as well. Take your race baiting elsewhere. Nobody wants to bite.

Cuthbert J. Twillie wrote on February 20, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Is this the same singer????




He promotes the "thug" life............ he and Chief Keef... 




right after this we had a guy with a gun there.......... 

Illinifan2000 wrote on February 22, 2016 at 11:02 pm

I know plenty of white thugs. 


Illinifan2000 wrote on February 22, 2016 at 11:02 pm

You pull a knife on a security guard, you get arrested and lose your scholarship.

You pull a knife on a cop, you get shot. 

You don't need a U of I degree to figure that one out.