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.