UI grad student faces misdemeanor charge over incident at protest

UI grad student faces misdemeanor charge over incident at protest

URBANA — A University of Illinois graduate student who allegedly snatched a cellphone from a student and damaged it during a rally protesting President Donald Trump on campus last month has been charged with a misdemeanor.

Tariq Khan, 39, who listed an address in Champaign, appeared in court Tuesday with Urbana attorney Ruth Wyman and pleaded not guilty to a Class A misdemeanor charge of criminal damage to property.

The charge stemmed from a dispute that happened Nov. 16 near the Alma Mater.

A UI police report said about 1:30 p.m. that day, Khan, a history instructor and Air Force veteran, had been speaking on a bullhorn. A man in the group made a comment about him being old and suggesting he should have something better to do, like watch his children.

The comment allegedly angered Khan, who interpreted it as a threat to his children. He got into a dispute with the heckler and another man that involved chest bumping and Khan allegedly taking a swing at but missing one of the men.

According to the report, when the original commenter began using his phone to record Khan, Khan grabbed it. The owner and others then followed Khan asking for the phone back. He allegedly threw it down, breaking the screen.

The phone is valued at $700, the report said.

Khan is due back in court Feb. 2 on the charge, which is punishable by a maximum penalty of 364 days in the county jail.

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rsp wrote on December 13, 2017 at 5:12 am

In the video that was posted online the owner of the phone states that the screen was already cracked when Khan took it. He further states that there was only minimal additional cracking. He then used it to make a call. Listing the "value" of the phone, as given by the owner is like if I scratched your car and you listed the replacement cost for the car. The phone needs a new screen.

Illiniwek222 wrote on December 13, 2017 at 10:12 am

And if you vandalized someone's car, that would be a crime, whether or not you took a swing at the owner.

BruckJr wrote on December 13, 2017 at 11:12 am

Whoa, Ms. Reitz gettin' tough on crime.  Here comes the dreaded probation.