Police union backs Rush

Police union backs Rush

CHAMPAIGN — Thursday, local African-American leaders and clergy will make their case for why Matt Rush should be kicked off the Champaign police force.

Wednesday, the Fraternal Order of Police offered their counterargument.

In a 256-word statement explaining why the officer with multiple excessive-force complaints ought to stay on the job, the FOP called Rush "a good police officer who wants nothing more than to keep protecting and serving the citizens of Champaign."

It also took to task Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz, lauding her for not filing criminal charges against Rush but criticizing her for announcing her office would no longer use him as a witness in any prosecution of a criminal case because of his "history of internal discipline and untruthfulness."

"While we appreciate the State's Attorney's common sense refusal to prosecute Officer Rush, we question why she would hurl an accusation like 'untruthfulness' with no evidence or explanation to back it up," the FOP said. "At best, it seems like an attempt to placate some voters who have made their feelings known in this matter."

"There is no good reason why Officer Matt Rush should not be returned to active duty, unless the decision-makers in Champaign listen to the Court of Public Opinion instead of the Court of Law," the statement went on to say.

In other developments:

In a statement of its own, the NAACP of Champaign County called for Rush's "immediate termination" from the department, saying the officer who's been at the center of three excessive force settlements since December has exhibited "dishonesty, lack of credibility and unethical behavior" that make him "unfit to serve."

State Rep. Carol Ammons (D-Urbana) said she'd join the North End Breakfast Club and others at a 3 p.m. news conference Thursday in response to Rietz's Tuesday announcement.

In response to what they described as Rush's "non-indictment," protesters said they'll demonstrate outside the Champaign County Courthouse at 9 a.m. Friday.

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rsp wrote on February 24, 2016 at 8:02 pm

So where is the statement? The other statements were published, why not this one?

Mike Howie wrote on February 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm
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I didn't have the statement earlier, but I do now. It's been added as a link in the story.

Thanks for asking.

Mike Howie

online editor

rsp wrote on February 24, 2016 at 10:02 pm

Thanks for getting it posted. I couldn't find it on their site either.

nschne393 wrote on February 24, 2016 at 8:02 pm

On a day where so many good policemen did so much good helping those in need, the FOP feels the need to remind everyone that no matter how good or bad the officer is at his/her job, the union will blindly support them and further drive wedges into the community. 

rsp wrote on February 24, 2016 at 10:02 pm

You need to read the paperwork.

working stiff wrote on February 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm

Once again the News-Gazette shows how one-sided they are. You have a link to the NAACP's statement, yet only offer a few blurbs from the FOP's statement. How about you give equal coverage to both sides of the issue? It's biased "journalism" like this, that made me cancel my subscription. The job of the media is to inform the public with accurate and unbiased reporting. Let the public see both sides and make their own decisions.

Mike Howie wrote on February 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm
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Thanks for your comment. I didn't have the statement earlier, but it's now been added to the story.


Chambanacitizen wrote on February 25, 2016 at 8:02 am

Of course they side with Rush. Cops side with cops. Always. Mix that in with union lovers and the "police are never wrong. Only criminals question cops"... This is what you get. Be upset all ya want, but don't be surprised. It's just the new normal. Only hope is to steer clear of cops at all costs. Do not call them for mental illness situations as the are not qualified to handle that.

Sid Saltfork wrote on February 25, 2016 at 9:02 am

The police are not clinical staff.  They handle emergencies regarding law enforcement.  Sorry that you had a bad experience with them during mental health situations.

Sincerly from a "union lover".