Video of Champaign Police Choking Black Youth while in Handcuffs

On June 5, 2011 Champaign police choked a 20 year old African-American man in the back seat of a squad car while he was in handcuffs. His crime? Asking why he had been stopped, roughed up, and pepper sprayed while walking in campus town.

Here is the video from the squad car with the pepperspraying and choking edited to the front followed by the entire 53 minute interaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iB-DF0bUiY0

Here is the video that was originally leaked to the UCIMC: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yP76Oc3-fMw

The choking occurs at 2:31:25 am according to the time stamp, although the police begin to profile the man at 2:16:35. At 26:50:00 they pull up to several youth, nearly knocking them with their car. They grab the one youth who does not resist physically. At 2:27:08 they pepper spray him. 2:30:00 the youth continues to ask what he was doing and why he is under arrest.  He explains that he was helping his sister home. At 2:31:25am you hear him say "Do not touch me sir!" after which you can see an officer jump on him, grab him by the throat, and choke him. Afterwards, you see the man pulled out of the car. When he returns his face appears covered in pepper spray, indicating they pepper sprayed him again while in handcuffs.

This video release comes just weeks after 18 year old Calvin Miller showed up at City Hall on crutches with a swollen eye and bumps on the back of his head. Calvin said police beat him while in handcuffs.

Another Youth, Gary McFarland, showed up at a press conference about police abuse a few days later with his jaw wired shut. His statement was that police broke his jaw while after they pepper sprayed him, threw him to the ground and put him in handcuffs.

Unlike Calvin's case, the City of Champaign has refused to release the squad car video in the June 5th incident, but it was been obtained anonymously and posted here.

The youth in this video submitted a complaint to the city; it was considered unfounded. After escalating pressure about police abuse, the City Manager and States Attorney have asked the State Police to review if there was misconduct. The State Police do not have a history of providing independent investigation that is trusted by the community.

In a recent press conference, the City Manager refused to answer questions about the choking or to release the video.

Dec 19th editors update:  States Attorney Julia Reitz has said she will not prosecute the officer involved. When asked about the choking, she refered to the police report which claims the officer was attempting to clean off the arrestees face. The State Police found no voliation of policy.  In the face of public pressure, Don Gerard, Mayor of Champaign, asked of FBI review, which found no civil rights violaitions.  Both the State Police and FBI are law enforcement bodies which are not considered to be an independent body to provide review.  The community has been calling for an civilian review board of police to provide independent oversight; a move the council may be considering in coming months. Meanwhile, the Champaign council is considering hiring outside, independent investigation of this use of force.  They delayed voting on this until after the holidays.

 

Related articles:

Over 100 Stand with Calvin Miller

http://ucimc.org/content/stand-calvin-miller-tuesday-night-champaign-city-council

Probe Sought in Troubling Arrest 

http://www.news-gazette.com/news/courts-police-and-fire/2011-11-20/probe-sought-troubling-arrest-champaign.html

City Manager Refuses to Answer Questions About Police Abuse:

http://ucimc.org/content/champaign-city-manager-holds-not-very-newsy-press-conference-police-violence

Video of Choking Arrest Leaked:

http://will.illinois.edu/news/spotstory/video-of-champaign-arrest-leaked-online/

 

Champaign Police Choke Handcuffed Black Youth in Squad Car

Federal Criminal Investigation is needed

with all of the clear corruption and cover ups taking place at the City of Champaign Police Department we need an outside investigation from the criminal division of the FBI not their homies in the state police department.

How can the states attorney not have this officer arrested and start prosecuting him immediately. she does not any outside neutral eyes, all eyes have seen this and it is clear, aggravated battery BY a police offcer. Maybe the Feds should investigate her office as well since she can't seem to prosecute "her friends".

Gerard "disappointed" with ucimc.org - not violent cop

See Champaign Mayor's comments at WILL 580 story.

http://will.illinois.edu/news/spotstory/video-of-champaign-arrest-leaked...

So far Gerard has been a

So far Gerard has been a "disappointing" mayor. This isn't the first dumb thing that he has said.

Police Brutality Hits the Spotlight, Again

by Tony Norman

When the late Gil Scott-Heron said that "the revolution would not be televised," he spoke too soon. There was no way that the performance poet could conceive of the era of the viral video or know that it was just around the corner.

Even Mr. Scott-Heron couldn't have predicted that every citizen would one day have the option of recording and disseminating a piece of the revolution with a cell phone camera. Who would have imagined back in the 1970s that a generation later, we would all be media gatekeepers by virtue of living in the modern world?

Last Friday, a cop at the University of California, Davis forgot the cardinal rule every officer should have internalized since the Rodney King debacle -- if there's a camera around, then police brutality will be televised. There are too many witnesses and too many cameras in the environment to ever give another officer the benefit of the doubt when it comes to violence on civilians. We know from painful experience that there are too many liars wearing badges to pretend otherwise.

When UC Davis students set up tents in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street movements nationwide, the university's insular leadership freaked out. College students haven't seriously clamored for freedom of speech in decades. Who can blame the school's ruling class for being a little foggy on the concept?

On Friday, someone who will probably be fired by the end of this week gave the order to campus cops who deal with these students every day to put aside their humanity and act like storm troopers.

Police wearing riot helmets and carrying truncheons went from enforcing arbitrary parking rules and breaking up rowdy keg parties to assaulting the students who pay their salaries.

By now, most people who are inclined to pay attention to the Occupy Wall Street movement have seen the infamous footage of the UC Davis cop who casually shot streams of pepper spray into the faces of students peacefully resisting orders to disperse.

The unidentified cop, who has since been suspended with pay along with another of his colleagues, is seen shaking the canister ritualistically before dousing the nonviolent students in a reddish chemical spray. He is performing for his fellow officers, but he is blind to the dozens of cameras recording his every move.

Within seconds, the students who had been sitting with arms linked were screaming and sobbing. They broke formation to protect their contaminated eyes. That's when the campus police moved in to make arrests and exacerbate an already appalling situation.

The students who had gathered around to witness the confrontation were firmly on the side of their fellow students. "Shame on you," they shouted in unison. Some protesters had to be treated at hospitals.

Because it is rare to see such breathtaking acts of sadism under color of authority, the reaction to the crackdown at UC Davis has been quick and visceral. Outraged alumni have threatened to withhold donations to punish Linda Katehi, the university's chancellor, under whose watch the violence took place.

In addition to suspending the two cops, Ms. Katehi has put Annette Spicuzza, the school's tone-deaf police chief, on administrative leave. Ms. Katehi announced that the university will conduct an internal probe into the events surrounding the officers' actions.

Much has been said about the militarization of the police in this country and how the "war on drugs" mentality has trickled down into society and college policing.

It also doesn't help that the Bush administration considered torture and sadism legitimate tools of coercion and social control. The cops at the bottom always take their cues from the cops at the top. When administration and military officials are amoral, then it is too much to expect men and women many levels below their pay grade to respect the constitutional rights of their fellow citizens.

The police claim that they're not choosing sides in the dispute but are simply enforcing the law. Former Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu had a great response to such moral evasiveness: "If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."

The clouds of pepper spray at UC Davis attest to which side those cops are on.

© 2011 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11326/1191637-153-0.stm

Tony Norman is a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist. He was once the Post-Gazette’s pop music/pop culture critic and appeared as an expert on cultural issues on local radio talk shows and television programs. In 1996, he began writing an award-winning general interest column, which, he says, rejuvenated his enthusiasm for the kind of journalism that makes a difference.

We all know who the cop is...

I am not sure why we are all pretending we don't recognize the face on the video of the arresting officer. No one seemed to have a problem blasting this youth's name across the media and invading his privacy or subjecting him to ridicule and threats. The police report was filed by Officer 7107. This badge number belongs to Officer Patrick M. Simons, an employee of the Champaign Police Department. I think it is an oxymoron for the CPD to stand up in Council chambers and boast about what they will do to anyone who breaks the law and then hide away after they are caught possibly breaking the State's Law for aggravated battery. How are we going to have serious dialogue if we continue to play this endless game of poker.

Aggravated battery?

Don't you usually have to hit someone to get charged with aggravated battery? All the cop did was pepper spray him, while the kid was being a dumbass. Painful, but harmless. Obviously he wasn't going to stop running his mouth or trying to resist. So, what was the cop supposed to do? Maybe you think it was premature to pepper spray him. Well, if he hadn't, the kid would have fought him, and then he really MIGHT have gotten hurt when the cop tried to stop him. Pepper spraying him was really the best way to avoid actually harming the mindless youth.

Ok then excessive force

Clearly from the video the kid was showing no signs of being violent. Since when is running your mouth a crime?! The constitution protects this very right. Its called freedom of speech! A person getting ready to resist arrest doesn't usually call an officer "sir". The officer was out of line an should be punished accordingly. Please explain why the Officer stopped him in the first place? Its sad to see in this day an age but some people abuse their job titles. Protect and serve is the oath he took. Who was he protecting there and who was he serving?!

DumbAss?

Last time I checked I am to be read my Miranda rights before being arrested. Last time I listened to the audio on the video, the officer appeared to be hunting for the kid long before the "Jaywalking". Last time I listened to the audio on the video the kid was wolfing to another kid, like male teens do to each other. There was nothing violent between the group of Black youths walking on campus. No "fight". They were no louder than the rowdy White kids who leave the bars on any given night. ANY GIVEN NIGHT. The last time I listened to the audio on the video I never heard Officer Simons suggest anything remotely about a potential "fight", only that the White kids where hanging with the "out of towners" (referring to the Black youths) who actually live in Champaign/Urbana and all attending college, including the intelligent young man who was justifiably upset. Actually, I think Officer Simons was upset to have "captured" one of those uppity Negroes who happened to know his rights and knew that one of those rights is that you can't get arrested for WWB (Walking While Black) or pepper sprayed and choked for TWB (Talking While Black)

I expected the State's Attorney to turn a blinds eye and call in their favorite rescue dogs, State Police. No surprise there. And I expected the State Police to say everything is fine down on the farm. No surprise there. And I expected the FBI to be called in. No surprise there. And I expect the FBI to say, "Yep, everything is fine down on the farm." Won't be a surprise there. I am waiting on some serious outside investigation that has real power to look into what has been going on here. Then, after that agency finds where the problems "lie", then I want them to find out why the State's Attorney, State Police and FBI can never seem to find the same problems.

Now, perhaps you are simply uninformed, so I will not resort to calling you a "dumbass" as you called the young man. Instead, try and educate you.

Anyone who has watched a television show about law enforcement has a heard a police officer read the suspect his or her Miranda Rights. After placing the suspect under arrest, the officer will say something similar to, “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have a right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be appointed for you.”

The wording of the Miranda rights may vary from the statement above, as long as they fully convey the message. The officer must also ensure that the suspect understands his or her rights. Should the suspect not speak English, these rights must be translated to make sure they are understood.

Miranda Rights were created in 1966 as a result of the United States Supreme Court case of Miranda v. Arizona. The Miranda warning is intended to protect the suspect’s Fifth Amendment right to refuse to answer self-incriminating questions.

It is important to note that Miranda rights do not go into effect until after an arrest is made. The officer is free to ask questions before an arrest, but must inform the suspect that the questioning is voluntary and that he or she is free to leave at any time. The answers to these questions are admissible in court.

If the suspect is placed under arrest and not read Miranda rights, spontaneous or voluntary statements may be used in evidence in court. For example, if the suspect starts using excuses justifying why he or she committed a crime these statements can be used at trial.

Silence can be used against the suspect if it occurs before he or she is read the Miranda rights. For example, an innocent person would proclaim his or her evidence or try to give an alibi rather than staying quiet. The prosecution will try to use the suspect’s silence against him or her in court.

If you are being investigated for a crime and wish to remain silent before being Mirandized, you can inform the officer that your attorney told you to never speak to law enforcement without talking to him or her first. This looks less suspicious than simply refusing to answer questions.

However, adding the caveat that your attorney advised you not to speak is only for the sake of trying not to provoke uneducated officers. But not stating the attorney qualifier doesn't negate your right to remain silent if you chose to simply not answer questions until the Miranda is given.

DumbAss?

I meant to say "Last time I checked I am to be read my Miranda rights before being speaking after being arrested"

dont want to address the choking?

did you watch the police officer go into the backseat of the squad car and choke a handcuffed citizen? does that bother you even a little?

All the kid did was shoot off

All the kid did was shoot off his mouth. That does not justify pepper spraying him. Let's stick to the facts, and stop trying to justify the cop's actions by making wild claims about what the kid might have done. By pepper spraying the kid before he was even handcuffed, the cop only made the situation worse.

Also, I think the cop planned to pepper spray the kid from the very beginning -- why else would he have run up to the kid with his pepper spray can already out?

Aggravated battery refers to the cop choking the kid while he was handcuffed in the back of the patrol car. It has nothing to do with the pepper spray, which is just run-of-the-mill police brutality.

First of all the level of

First of all the level of over the top gross neglect by champaign police department. The kid they shot going into his own house should have been maced the man depressed over the loss of a loved one shot three times at point blank range should have been maced. First off the champaign police should be kicked off campus why have a university patrol force if champaign cops just come and interupt. And for the fact you saying the kid may have gotten hurt I highly doubt that. He was a great wrestler and was in the same weightlifting class as me. Macing someone just makes them even more inconpliant. By the way who test these cops physicals looks like Simmons eats more donuts than real criminals he catches good luck on unemployment officer Simmons

By my count, the young man is

By my count, the young man is asked to step up to the car twice politely and respectfully, and he refuses in a disrespectful manner.

The officer has to run a few steps and asks him again to step up to the car.

I may be mistaken, but I believe and officer has the authority to stop and question a person he feels may have broken the law. (I am going to have to guess jaywalking, petty as it is, is indeed breaking the law)

So far, the mistakes (unless you can tell me otherwise) are on the kid's side.

The officer pulls the young man back to the car, and tells the young man refuses to put his hands on the car.

Am I mistaken? To this point, the officer has done nothing wrong. The youth is refusing some reasonable demands by the officer, and though it is not UNLAWFUL (since officers cannot be subject to disorderly conduct) the youth is being belligerent in tone and attitude.

If I refuse a lawful request by a police officer, and I get peppersprayed to be put in cuffs, I probably get what I deserve.

Now, the officer clearly loses it in the squad car. He loses it and should face the consequences--probably should be fired.

So, while I will agree with anyone that the officer lost it and should be punished, I also would DISAGREE with anyone who fails to criticize the youth's behavior.

If we are going to make it as a community, we have to address both sides of these issues, even when one side is mostly wrong.

"If I refuse a lawful request

"If I refuse a lawful request by a police officer, and I get peppersprayed to be put in cuffs, I probably get what I deserve."

I don't agree. The cop should only be allowed to use pepper spray if he has good reason to believe that he may be subjected to a physical attack by the suspect. It is not appropriate to pepper spray someone for refusing to follow an order "to come to the patrol car" after having been caught jaywalking. Therefore, the cop used excessive force.

STATEMENT BY ILLINOIS STATE

STATEMENT BY ILLINOIS STATE POLICE REGARDING CHAMPAIGN OFFICER AND PEDESTRIAN INVOLVED INCIDENT

CHAMPAIGN — The Illinois State Police has completed a review regarding an incident that occurred on June 5, 2011, at approximately 2:30 a.m., at 4th and Green Street in Champaign, Illinois.

At the request of Champaign City Officials, and the Champaign County State's Attorney's Office, Illinois State Police completed an independent review on November 22, 2011, of the Champaign Police Department's Use of Force Investigation.

Based on the Use of Force Investigation completed by the Champaign Police Department, Illinois State Police Officials have concluded that the officer followed Department policy under the Champaign Police Department's Use of Force model. Based upon these findings, the Illinois State Police will conduct no further review of the matter.

Champaign Police Department policy states that the use of OC spray "is intended to be used primarily against unarmed subjects who officers reasonably believe have indicated physically and/or verbally that they intend to resist arrest or assault an officer or other person."

The officer was on routine patrol in the area of 5th and Green Street having responded to a reported fight in progress. The officer observed a group in the intersection of 4th and Green against the traffic signal, disrupting traffic. The officer approached the group, and directed the group to relocate. A pedestrian refused the officer's command and became combative, resisting the officer's attempt to make an arrest. The officer followed department policy and used the appropriate technique to gain compliance without injury to himself or the subject taken into custody.

"For every law enforcement agency, safety is always the top priority and law enforcement officials are concerned anytime the safety of the public or police is compromised. However, based on the Champaign Police Department's investigative reports, the officer appropriately contained a resistive subject and followed department policy," said ISP Region 3 Commander Todd Kilby.

"The Champaign Police Department conducted a thorough investigation and based on the findings from the Champaign Police Department's investigation and the ISP independent review, it has been determined that the officer's actions were within department guidelines," Kilby added.

Champaign cops are terrible

Champaign cops are terrible with youths. I myself was peppered sprayed in late may after a person in my group not 21 ran and the officer who had my Id proving me being 21 ran. Another officer came and approached me I let him search me proceeded to pepper spray me in the face while my hands were on a wall. Never received any help to rid my face of the spray by the officer, prosser is his last name. I was charged with nothing but resisting arrest. The case was dropped later.

This "investigation" reveals how biased they are

The suspect was already forced against the hood of the car and his "resistance to arrest" was mostly verbal. Therefore, the suspect was already under control when the cop used pepper spray.

The use of pepper spray can be considered a form of torture. Its use should not be allowed unless there is danger of imminent physical attack against a cop from a suspect. The conclusions of the Illinois State Police "investigation" is utterly bizarre because the cop clearly choked the handcuffed suspect in the back of the patrol car, thereby engaging in aggravated battery.

I believe that both the pepper spraying and the attempt to choke the suspect were acts of retaliation by the cop for the suspect's mouthiness. However, protections provided by the 1st amendment still apply. The Champaign police are clearly out-of-control.

Prosser- The Rogue List

Officer Justin Prosser is one of the officers who recently testilied on a court case where he unjustifiably pepper sprayed a person at the American Legion in June of 2011.
You should write an article about your case.

OVER HERE IN GALESBURG, ILLINOIS TOO !

Last Friday November 18th my son Dean,a latino in his 20's(his mother is Nicaraguan) called me after 1:am asking me to pick him up while standing in front of the Public aid office on main street, DHS, Department of Human services, here in Galesburg. By the time I got there he was not there, but I saw that there were police officers in the area, so I drove around the block, and noticed an ambulance, and a police car behind the public aid office. I pulled up beside the police car, and explained to the officer that my son had called me to pick him up just minutes ago, but when I got here, he was not where he told me he was going to be. The young, short, stocky caucasian officer responded: "Dean?" He admitted that they had him in custody, and proceeded to tell me a story about the drinking establisment, next door about some disturbance, and that my son might be a suspect, or something to that effect.
The Knox County Jail is just blocks away, and the officer came out and talked to me in the waiting area. Though he had previously said that he should be out in a couple hours, he said that it might be until after thew shift changes depending on how much he has had to drink.
He also said that you might think about getting him evaluated, and went on to explain to me what a court ordered evaluation was.
He was let out about 8:30 am, and was given an order to appear in court for resisting arrest.
The topic of a homeless man, Nigel Williams, somehow came up while the officer was advising me. Nigel, African-American, also in his 20's, was awakened while sleeping, in the exact same place my son was standing waiting for me. He said, "Well Nigel shouldn't have grabbed the can of mace." Nigel was handcuffed and maced, but somehow according to the Galesburg police, Nigel managed to grab the can of mace, and spray the officer back, then fleeing, though handcuffed, only to be subdued just blocks away. God knows what happened at that location, as the Register-Mail reporter only reoported on the initial incident with Nigel.
I wrote about Nigel's treatment in a letter to the editor of the Galesburg Register mail, suggesting that the police may need some "sensitivity training." Since then, peculiar things involving my son and I have happended, like being pulled over and ticketed, accused of changing lanes without signaling, and then being told by one of the officers that they don't take Triple AAA cards for bond, even after listing the options, wanting to keep my driver's license.
Back to my son's incident for I comment on the Champaign abuse, and the credibility of the Illinois State Police being called in to investigate the city police.
Last night I went in to the drinking establishment next to the public aid office, sat down and had a beer, and talked to the young owner about last Friday night and the supposed disturbance,
and he said there was no such thing that took place, and has not heard of any problems with my son. Dean, my son goes to court on this December 19th.
Though plenty corrupt, as the long list of Governor's under scrutiny to put it mildly proves, as you know Illinois is a conservative state, and if the Illinois State Police are called in to investigate something like police abuse, it should be complimented with something else, be it the IDHR, Illinois Department of Human Rights, so justice will prevail.
Back in the 1980's while traveling West on I-80, just south of Ronald Reagon's home town, I was pulled over, and ended up being hand-cuffed behind my back, pushed face down on the front seat of my car, choked and struck several times for talking back to the officer.
My dear spouse, and then three young children, Dean was about 4 yrs. old, observed this, screaming in fear. One state police took me off to Cambridge, Illinois, and another took my family to a place called "Grandma's restaurant." My oldest son, Molosky, later said to me, "Dad, maybe it was because of your bumper sticker." "Nicaragua is not our enemy, Stop US War on Nicaragua." Again, in Reagon country, during the "contra war", the counter revolutionaries, trying to topple the triumph of the Nicaraguan revolution. While recalling that this CIA operation was conducted illegally out of the basement of Ronald Reagon's white house.

Check the video at 11:53

What people are missing on the video is at 11:53, you will see the other officer who helps with the handcuffing, say something to the kid, and after he is handcuffed, slams his face against the hood of the car. I believe that is Champaign Police Officer Jon Lieb, a frequent abuser of African-Americans in the community.

Please dont make baseless

Please dont make baseless allegations.....that Officer is NOT John Lieb. As a neighbor of his, I see him on most days. The assisting officer looks nothing like him.

You're right

You're right, it may not be Jon Lieb, but I'm glad you are not disputing the slam of the face onto the hood of the car.

Pepper-Spray Video Shows Importance ofCivilian Police Oversight

by Leonard Pitts Jr.

Video of the Nov. 18 incident tells a different story. It shows a group of Occupy Davis student protesters sitting peacefully with arms interlocked while a UC Davis police officer walks back and forth, dousing them at close range with liberal amounts of pepper spray. There is an awful contemptuousness in his bearing. He could be spraying weeds in his garden or roaches in his kitchen.

The victims of this assault have described the pain in searing terms. They speak of burning skin and vomiting, of the inability to breathe, of feeling as if acid had been poured into their faces. Two cops involved with this atrocity and the chief of police have been suspended — with pay. One hopes this is preparatory to a summary dismissal.

As we grapple with this vandalism of the First Amendment, we should ask ourselves this: What if there had been no cameras on hand? What if we had only the word of the protesters and their sympathizers that this happened versus the word of authority figures that it did not? Is it so hard to imagine the students' claims being dismissed, the media attention being a fraction of what it is, the public's outrage falling along predictable ideological lines and these cops getting a walk?

That's worth keeping in mind as legislators and law officers around the country move to criminalize the act of videotaping police in the performance of their duties.

As in Emily Good, the Rochester, N.Y., woman who was arrested in May for videotaping a traffic stop from her own front yard. As in Narces Benoit, who says Miami Beach police grabbed his hair, handcuffed him and stomped his cellphone (which police deny) after he recorded an officer-involved shooting in June. As in states that have written new laws or used existing wiretapping statutes to support this blatant usurpation of an American liberty.

This is not, as the officer who arrested Good piously claimed for the benefit of her video and any court that might later review it, about police safety. It is, rather, about the right of civilian oversight. Police after all, are prone to the same instinct to close ranks and cover nether regions as anyone else. Except, they have guns and powers of arrest.

That should give us pause, especially in light of the blatant mendacity of the UC Davis cops. It should stand as a cautionary tale to those folks who are willing to accord police all benefit of every doubt. One also hopes those states or towns that have enacted or are contemplating statutes to prohibit people from videotaping on-duty police will now rethink that awful idea.

If you are not interfering with police or otherwise breaking a law, what legal or moral pretext do they have to stop you from filming them? Indeed, those who are doing their work honorably — in other words, the majority — should welcome that, as it protects them from spurious claims of brutality, just as it protects citizens when the brutality is real.

That is the moral of this story and the reason we should be thankful cameras recorded what happened at UC Davis that day. What police did to those students was an absolute crime. Getting away with it would have been one, too.

© 2011 Seattle Times
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorialsopinion/2016857517_pitts...

Leonard Pitts Jr. won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 2004. He is the author of the novel, Before I Forget. His column runs every Sunday and Wednesday in the Miami Herald. Forward From This Moment, a collection of his columns, was released in 2009.

Help--my son was pepper sprayed last night by Champaign cop

My 19-year-old son and several other kids, primarily African-American or biracial, were pepper sprayed after leaving Bradley's last night. My son was walking toward his friends' car in the parking lot as everyone was leaving, but a cop started spraying pepper spray through the crowd to get them to move along. My son was blinded and lost among the confusion and hysteria caused by the police. Once his friends found him and brought him home, his face, neck, and ears were badly burned and we treated him for hours with cold water and milk before he could stand the pain. His eyes are still red and nearly swollen shut. I want to file a formal complaint against the police but I know nothing will come of it. I would gladly go to every city council meeting and raise as much hell as I can, but I know that my son would be the one to suffer the recriminations. Once they find out his name, the cops will follow him closely until they find an excuse to throw him in jail to prove that he's a thug, which he is not. He's a good kid who doesn't understand why anyone, particularly the police, would want to hurt him so badly. The police have lost his trust for life. What can I do?

let's work together

If we work together, we may come up with a response together. CU Citizens for Peace and Justice has been working since 2004 to expose this kind of abuse and it is largely due to our work that these issues have come to light.

CUCPJ meets every Saturday at 4pm at the IMC, Broadway and Elm, in the old Urbana post office.

BD

Tell your son to be home

Tell your son to be home before 2am and not at Bradley's 2. I am guessing that would do the trick.

The Gestapo has ordered a curfew

This is what the police have decided to be policy: Pepper spray will be used as a "move along" technique for the herding of crowds, and if you don't like it, don't be out late at night. Wow. CPD = SS Nazis. A formal complaint needs to be made at the police station regarding this incident at Bradley's and then this incident needs to be told to the HRC when they meet next, and then needs to be retold at the city council meeting. The police cannot use pepper spray at random like this.

Video, Video, Video

It's clear that the only way to keep these police dogs in line is for the citizenry to keep them videotaped at all times whenever there is any sighting of a Champaign police officer. Police may not respect people anymore, but they will respect their actions being documented.

To Annonymous 6:30p.m.

You need to come to a CUCPJ meeting and tell your story. Then you need to go to the Champaign city council meeting and expose the whole thing in public, including your fears that "cops will follow him closely until they find an excuse to throw him in jail," which is called retaliation. Then if that happens, come to another city council meeting and expose the retaliation as well. I too was scared and I just went ahead and exposed my situation to the city council as well. I know it's not easy but it's easier than living in fear. It's time to take a stand.

"Expose the retaliation...?"

By the time I expose whatever the Champaign PD pulls against my son in retaliation, my kid will have done time in jail. As a mom, I can't risk that. I can't use my kid to further an agenda. There has to be another solution.

Find someone to speak on your behalf

Find someone from Urbana (or not living in Champaign) who will complain to the Champaign City Council on behalf of yourself and your son. It should be made clear to the city council that the person outside of Champaign is speaking on behalf of yourself and your son because you are fearful of police retaliation.

The Agenda

Then there is nothing you can do but take it. If you think your son will be put in jail for speaking out, then you may have already gone too far. You've already notified the police there is a complaint about the time, date, and whereabouts of the incident. The officer who pepper sprayed your son has been notified he has been put on blast on this site. If you believe the police will start trailing your son, and that cost is too great, then the police win again. It's amazing how powerful and omnipresent the police have become. Mothers cannot even protect their sons without increasing their danger.

What about this kid?

This incident happened June 5th. He filed a complaint with the police in the summer(within 30 days of the incident.) The Chief of Police had to do an investigation into the incident (albiet a crappy job.) The City Manager has since contacted him to appeal.
His lawyer subpoenaed this video this past summer. Has the kid who appears in this video been trailed and jailed since his arrest, complaint, the video given to his attorney, and now the public outcry? Maybe it's the police who are at risk exposing their corruption by retaliating.

re:to mom's fear of retaliation

No, this kid has not been trailed or jailed by the CPD since this incident. However, this particular officer responded to an area where he lives and made it his business to harass this kid again... Luckily for this kid a Sgt and another street officer was there to handle the situation and the officer appropriately when he began hoopn and hollern "that's the kid who broke the officer's hand". Did I mention that this was
4 months later? Incident's like this might occur, but contrary to what some might say a mother has an obligation to protect her son regardless of his age. Another important factor to keep in mind is that we must stand together to expose the injustice that our youth is subjected to. This kid has acknowledged his language/behavior but the retaliation by the officer should never result in; excessive force, false documentation and then to make matters worse the officer slaps a felony charge that the kid will live with for life.

It is incorrect to assume that "these kids are out of control" and "that it starts at home". Yes, indeed it does start at home but when the state has taken the good ole punishment away from parents, the parents hands are tied. If it's not our youth the police are messing with it's the youth's parent being messed with for the possibility of being charged with abuse/battery of their own child. It's a catch all with them.

For the record a 19 yr is able to attend Bradley's and the last time I checked a 19 yr old doesn't have a curfew. Oh I forgot that depends on what color you are and where you are.

Here's food for thought to the many that pass judgement, if you cannot empathize with what the youth experience in the African-American community you will never be able to grasp at the understanding of the frustration that persist in their precious souls. These same precious souls cannot begin to understand why there are double standards based on their skin color in this great community where I chose to raise my family.

This is my advise to anyone that is a victim of injustice-Stand united for what you believe in, if you want change.

The N-G on the Bradley's incident

Police investigate incident in which officers used pepper spray
Mon, 11/28/2011 - 9:52pm | Tim Mitchell, staff writer, News-Gazette.com

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign Deputy Chief Troy Daniels said police are investigating an incident early Sunday in which officers used pepper spray outside a Champaign nightclub.

According to a police report, officers were called to Bradley's, 1906 W. Bradley Ave., C, at 1:35 a.m. Sunday after receiving a report of a fight.

When police arrived, they found what the report described as "a large fight" in progress outside the bar, and pepper spray was used.

Police arrested Xavier J. Gladney, 26, who listed an address in the 200 block of Foxwell Court, Champaign, for aggravated battery, and Lamar M. Johnson, 30, who listed an address in the 200 block of Foxwell Court, Champaign, for resisting and obstructing an officer.

A 31-year-old Champaign woman also reported being battered by a man during the incident.

Daniels said police have begun an investigation of the incident.

"Every use of force report is reviewed by police command, including when pepper spray is used," Daniels said on Monday night. "We are aware of the fight that occurred at Bradley's, and the lieutenant in charge of the district will be looking into it."

Not Too Helpful

Yet another case where the News-Gazette isn't very helpful or enlightening, except simply reproducing the "official" story that the police desire to release. Stenography in the service of the powers that be is barely journalism.

Bradley's

Why are there so many fights at Bradley's, anyway? I've been to a bunch of bars in this town, and never seen a fight in progress, much less a fight with a whole bunch of people crowded around.

Yet there are fights at Bradley's all the time. What is it about that place? Is it the lighting? Something in the water there? What is it about that place that makes the people there so much more prone to violence?

Tim Mitchell didn't write it

Tim Mitchell was given the information by the police. It is stenography, but that's what the N-G usually does. It's only a Brian Dolinar who would actually go talk to a Gladney or Johnson or somebody who was actually there during the pepper spraying that night and find out what happened. The N-G reporters sit at desks and take phone calls and type things on time. That's it.

News-Gazette bashing

I'll be the first to admit the News-Gazette isn't perfect, but it was the NG that broke the brutality story in the first place, giving it excellent play at the top of the Sunday paper. Given that, the recent comments attacking the paper seem a little off base.

Bashing for change

Consider the N-G bashing to be encouragement for more of the same type of journalism that broke the lack of response to FOIA's, The Brady Smith Case, The Kurt Hjort Hire in Gibson City, The Larry Martin shooting, and now this case. Unfortunately, these exceptions, while admittedly great work, do not reflect the usual modus operandi at the News-Gazette. Every other day, the N-G is the obedient tool of the police and the State's attorney's office.

Why Is the P.D. After Me?

by Nicholas K. Peart

WHEN I was 14, my mother told me not to panic if a police officer stopped me. And she cautioned me to carry ID and never run away from the police or I could be shot. In the nine years since my mother gave me this advice, I have had numerous occasions to consider her wisdom.

One evening in August of 2006, I was celebrating my 18th birthday with my cousin and a friend. We were staying at my sister’s house on 96th Street and Amsterdam Avenue in Manhattan and decided to walk to a nearby place and get some burgers. It was closed so we sat on benches in the median strip that runs down the middle of Broadway. We were talking, watching the night go by, enjoying the evening when suddenly, and out of nowhere, squad cars surrounded us. A policeman yelled from the window, “Get on the ground!”

I was stunned. And I was scared. Then I was on the ground — with a gun pointed at me. I couldn’t see what was happening but I could feel a policeman’s hand reach into my pocket and remove my wallet. Apparently he looked through and found the ID I kept there. “Happy Birthday,” he said sarcastically. The officers questioned my cousin and friend, asked what they were doing in town, and then said goodnight and left us on the sidewalk.

Less than two years later, in the spring of 2008, N.Y.P.D. officers stopped and frisked me, again. And for no apparent reason. This time I was leaving my grandmother’s home in Flatbush, Brooklyn; a squad car passed me as I walked down East 49th Street to the bus stop. The car backed up. Three officers jumped out. Not again. The officers ordered me to stand, hands against a garage door, fished my wallet out of my pocket and looked at my ID. Then they let me go.

I was stopped again in September of 2010. This time I was just walking home from the gym. It was the same routine: I was stopped, frisked, searched, ID’d and let go.

These experiences changed the way I felt about the police. After the third incident I worried when police cars drove by; I was afraid I would be stopped and searched or that something worse would happen. I dress better if I go downtown. I don’t hang out with friends outside my neighborhood in Harlem as much as I used to. Essentially, I incorporated into my daily life the sense that I might find myself up against a wall or on the ground with an officer’s gun at my head. For a black man in his 20s like me, it’s just a fact of life in New York.

Here are a few other facts: last year, the N.Y.P.D. recorded more than 600,000 stops; 84 percent of those stopped were blacks or Latinos. Police are far more likely to use force when stopping blacks or Latinos than whites. In half the stops police cite the vague “furtive movements” as the reason for the stop. Maybe black and brown people just look more furtive, whatever that means. These stops are part of a larger, more widespread problem — a racially discriminatory system of stop-and-frisk in the N.Y.P.D. The police use the excuse that they’re fighting crime to continue the practice, but no one has ever actually proved that it reduces crime or makes the city safer. Those of us who live in the neighborhoods where stop-and-frisks are a basic fact of daily life don’t feel safer as a result.

We need change. When I was young I thought cops were cool. They had a respectable and honorable job to keep people safe and fight crime. Now, I think their tactics are unfair and they abuse their authority. The police should consider the consequences of a generation of young people who want nothing to do with them — distrust, alienation and more crime.

Last May, I was outside my apartment building on my way to the store when two police officers jumped out of an unmarked car and told me to stop and put my hands up against the wall. I complied. Without my permission, they removed my cellphone from my hand, and one of the officers reached into my pockets, and removed my wallet and keys. He looked through my wallet, then handcuffed me. The officers wanted to know if I had just come out of a particular building. No, I told them, I lived next door.

One of the officers asked which of the keys they had removed from my pocket opened my apartment door. Then he entered my building and tried to get into my apartment with my key. My 18-year-old sister was inside with two of our younger siblings; later she told me she had no idea why the police were trying to get into our apartment and was terrified. She tried to call me, but because they had confiscated my phone, I couldn’t answer.

Meanwhile, a white officer put me in the back of the police car. I was still handcuffed. The officer asked if I had any marijuana, and I said no. He removed and searched my shoes and patted down my socks. I asked why they were searching me, and he told me someone in my building complained that a person they believed fit my description had been ringing their bell. After the other officer returned from inside my apartment building, they opened the door to the police car, told me to get out, removed the handcuffs and simply drove off. I was deeply shaken.

For young people in my neighborhood, getting stopped and frisked is a rite of passage. We expect the police to jump us at any moment. We know the rules: don’t run and don’t try to explain, because speaking up for yourself might get you arrested or worse. And we all feel the same way — degraded, harassed, violated and criminalized because we’re black or Latino. Have I been stopped more than the average young black person? I don’t know, but I look like a zillion other people on the street. And we’re all just trying to live our lives.

As a teenager, I was quiet and kept to myself. I’m about to graduate from the Borough of Manhattan Community College, and I have a stronger sense of myself after getting involved with the Brotherhood/Sister Sol, a neighborhood organization in Harlem. We educate young people about their rights when they’re stopped by the police and how to stay safe in those interactions. I have talked to dozens of young people who have had experiences like mine. And I know firsthand how much it messes with you. Because of them, I’m doing what I can to help change things and am acting as a witness in a lawsuit brought by the Center for Constitutional Rights to stop the police from racially profiling and harassing black and brown people in New York.

It feels like an important thing to be part of a community of hundreds of thousands of people who are wrongfully stopped on their way to work, school, church or shopping, and are patted down or worse by the police though they carry no weapon; and searched for no reason other than the color of their skin. I hope police practices will change and that when I have children I won’t need to pass along my mother’s advice.

http://ccrjustice.org/learn-more/reports/report%3A-racial-disparity-nypd...

Nicholas K. Peart is a student at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

Copyright 2011 The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/18/opinion/sunday/young-black-and-frisked...

Many in U.S. Are Arrested by Age 23, Study Finds

by Erica Good

By age 23, almost a third of Americans have been arrested for a crime, according to a new study that researchers say is a measure of growing exposure to the criminal justice system in everyday life.

The study, the first since the 1960s to look at the arrest histories of a national sample of adolescents and young adults over time, found that 30.2 percent of the 23-year-olds who participated reported having been arrested for an offense other than a minor traffic violation.

That figure is significantly higher than the 22 percent found in a 1965 study that examined the same issue using different methods. The increase may be a reflection of the justice system becoming more punitive and more aggressive in its reach during the last half-century, the researchers said. Arrests for drug-related offenses, for example, have become far more common, as have zero-tolerance policies in schools.

The study did not look at racial or regional differences, but other research has found higher arrest rates for black men and for youths living in poor urban areas.

Criminal justice experts said the 30.2 percent figure was especially notable at a time when employers, aided by the Internet, routinely conduct criminal background checks on job candidates.

“This estimate provides a real sense that the proportion of people who have criminal history records is sizable and perhaps much larger than most people would expect,” said Shawn Bushway, a criminologist at the State University at Albany and a co-author of the study, which appears in Monday’s issue of the journal Pediatrics.

The study analyzed data collected as part of the federal government’s National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. The 7,335 participants were nationally representative and ranged in age from 12 to 16 when they were enrolled in the survey in 1996. The first interviews were conducted in 1997. Follow-up interviews have been carried out annually since then.

The researchers found that the probability of a first arrest accelerated in late adolescence and early adulthood — at 18, 15.9 percent of the participants reported having been arrested — and then began to flatten out as the youths entered their 20s.

Robert Brame, a professor of criminal justice and criminology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte, and the lead author of the study, said he hoped the research would alert physicians to signs that their young patients were at risk.

“We know that arrest occurs in a context,” Dr. Brame said. “There are other things going on in people’s lives at the time they get arrested, and those things aren’t necessarily good.”

If doctors can intervene, he added, “It can have big implications for what happens to these kids after the arrest, whether they become embedded in the criminal justice system or whether they shrug it off and move on.”

Copyright 2011 The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com

New ruling preserves squad car videos

By Christopher Willis\Associated Press
 
 
SPRINGFIELD —

 The Illinois Supreme Court on Friday backed up a judge who punished the prosecution after video of a drunken driving arrest was destroyed, a decision establishing that defendants have a right to see video evidence even in misdemeanor cases.

The defendant had made clear that she would fight the charges and wanted the squad-car video of her arrest. The court said that even though the Cook County case was a misdemeanor, police and prosecutors had a duty to preserve the video instead of routinely erasing it after 30 days.

"In sum, we conclude that the routine video recording of traffic stops has now become an integral part of those encounters, objectively documenting what takes place by capturing the conduct and the words of both parties," Justice Charles Freeman wrote for the unanimous Supreme Court.

The trial judge, as punishment for the video being erased, barred the arresting officer from testifying about anything that took place while the camera was running. Judge William Wise said it was the third time in three weeks that he had encountered video evidence being erased.

Prosecutors objected to such strict limitations on the police officer's testimony, but the Supreme Court said the judge was within his authority.

The case dates back to May 3, 2008, when Marina Kladis was stopped in the Chicago suburb of Northlake. After she refused to take a Breathalyzer test, Kladis was charged with drunken driving and her license was suspended.

Five days later, she filed paperwork saying she would fight the accusations and wanted prosecutors to produce any video evidence.

Despite this, Northlake police followed their policy of erasing video after 30 days. The prosecution argued that didn't matter because video is not one of the kinds of evidence that prosecutors must turn over to defendants in misdemeanor cases.

The state Supreme Court disagreed Friday. It said the types of evidence subject to discovery can change with time, and video has become so commonplace that defendants should expect to review it.

Scott Burns, executive director of the National District Attorneys' Association, said most states probably already guarantee defendants access to video in similar cases. And police typically would preserve video until a case is resolved, he said.

Kladis' attorney, Edward Maloney, called the ruling major and said it should help innocent people protect themselves in court.

"This will provide more evidence toward reasonable doubt," he said.

 

So the investigation is over

So the investigation is over and the findings are in. No violations of excessive force. No problem with the stop. All technical violations according to the Chief. My friend tells me that all the officers got warnings and one even got a promotion. Sad. Was the money spent on this really necessary? Did it result in change or reward the officers.

Depends what you call over

While it's true the police department and the City of Champaign would like to consider the June 5th incident over- they know it is not. They released 12 pages from what has been described as hundreds of pages from this particular investigation. What is often ignored by the News-Gazette/WDWS "official" media sources [tools] and others is the first paragraph in the released report. The victim, the other officers, and the other civilian bystanders to the incident were also interviewed. There is a different story about this incident that has yet to be told. Mayor Gerard has said he and his staff are not "hiding anything" but they believe the city government will be subject to a serious civil lawsuit soon and cannot release the rest of the investigation. Hopefully a serious lawsuit will be the case, but that depends on the victim and his family's resources.
No money was spent on the fourth investigation other than the salaried time of the three command staff who conducted the fourth investigation.

As the late-20th Century philosopher, uh- I believe his name was John Belushi, once said in his stirring speech at the end of that fine piece of cinema, "Animal House": "Nothing is over until we decide it is!" Citizens don't have to let up about this. Public Participation regarding any topic is now available every time the Champaign city council meets, and letting them know that the outcome has been unacceptable and the standards for the use of force still needs to be addressed is an option anyone can exercise. The problem is we have begun to lose faith that talking to City Council members on television, and re-broadcasted 3 times a day for the next 7 days is seen as useless. But if it matters, then messing up their television show every week with a every week reminder that the police department must change, would be a worthwhile enterprise. No sense it letting the News-Gazette decide what the narrative will be.

There might not have been any

There might not have been any money spent on the fourth investigation as you say, but weren't we promised by the new chief and carter that THIS investigation was complete and thorough? Yet we find that the conclusion was exactly similar to the others, with the exception of a few minor violations. Those were addressed by warnings to the officers and the staff who investigated. What is the difference? Simons is promoted and the others are told it wasn't a big deal so continue to follow the same policy. The same policy that was approved by the city council about a year ago. What gives?

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