Disciplinary Actions Taken Against Champaign Police Officers

Despite being public bodies serving a public good, most police departments operate as secret societies. The push for police accountability includes making their practices more transparent. I recently obtained all disciplinary actions taken against Champaign police officers since 2006. Contrary to what I expected, only a small percentage of the disciplinary actions were the result of citizen complaints. The most common reason was for damage to a squad car. Yet there were still several instances of misconduct that threatened both citizens and officers.

The IMC Weekly for the weeks of Monday, December 13th, 20th and the 27th

Happy Holidays everyone!

December Issue of Public i out!

The December 2010 issue of the Public i is out now with articles on racial profiling, city court, and the deepening economic crisis.

 

The IMC Weekly for the week of Monday, December 6th

A look at upcoming IMC events

 

Rev. Troy A. Burks Elected as President of the Champaign County NAACP

According to the NAACP web site http://naacpcc.org/ election results have come in for the President of the Champaign County Branch.

After a run-off vote, Rev. Troy A. Burks has been elected to take the President position on Jan. 1, 2011.

Congratulations to Rev. Burks!

BD

"What Does 2009 Traffic Stop Data Tell Us About Police Behavior in Champaign-Urbana?"

The sixth annual state report on Illinois Traffic Stop Statistics was recently released by the Center for Research in Law and Justice of the University of Illinois at Chicago.  The statistics provide a window into local traffic stop data that helps local communities answer a fundamental question:   “Are the number of traffic stops and searches involving motor vehicles operated by members of a racial minority disproportionate to the number of traffic stops involving motor vehicles operated by persons who are not members of a racial minority?”

What does the data tell us about traffic stop behavior of the Champaign, Urbana, and University of Illinois police departments?

Sheriff’s Deputy Fired For DUI

It has been confirmed that Travis Burr was dismissed from his position as investigator with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office. Burr was charged with a DUI after being involved in a three-car accident, details about which have yet to become publicly available.

On August 14, 2010, Burr was driving east from Sadorus when he was involved in the accident. After Sheriff’s deputies showed up on the scene and discovered that Burr was a colleague, the state police were called in to investigate. As stated in court documents, “Subject had a slight odor of an alcoholic beverage on his breath and slightly slurred speech. Subject had bloodshot eyes and admitted drinking 6-8 beers since noon. Subject failed SFST’s [Standardized Field Sobriety Tests].” Unfortunately, due to a policy enforced beginning in 2007 by State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, police reports describing the incident in more detail are not available to the public until after the court case is resolved.

The IMC Weekly for the week of Monday, November 29th

The IMC Weekly for the week of Monday, November 15th

Check out the rundown of IMC events for the week.

The IMC Weekly for the week of Monday, November 8th

This is the IMC Weekly, a rundown of IMC events for the week of Monday, November 8th.

 

“Poetry for the People” Brings Poet Lisa Marie Rollins to Urbana’s Neighborhood Connections

On November 2, 2010, the Public i held a workshop as part of its “Poetry for the People” series at Neighborhood Connections Center, Inc., Urbana’s new community center serving African American youth. The host for the workshop was Lisa Marie Rollins, Oakland-based poet, playwright, and performer. This was the first cultural program at the Center since its opening in January 2010. The “Poetry for the People” project is funded by a grant from Urbana’s Public Arts Commission.

The IMC Weekly for the week of Monday, November 1st

This is the IMC Weekly, a rundown of IMC events for the week of November 1st. Don't forget to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 2nd!

 

 

eBlack Champaign-Urbana Holding Public Symposium

For the past year the eBlackChampaign-Urbana project has worked with local youth and community institutions to digitize local African-American history and make it accessible online. In doing this project we discovered that technological barriers prevented full use of this free resource. At this free Symposium, November 5-6, the project will attempt to connect together the many individuals and institutions making differences in the lives of local African-Americans to build a network of support that can be used to enable our community to take full advantage of the technological resources that already exist and will be built in the future.

The IMC Weekly for the week of Monday, October 25

This is the IMC Weekly, a rundown of IMC events for the week of October 25. Happy Halloween, everyone!

Students for a United Illinois Hold Counter-Demonstration at Assembly Hall

About 100 people protested outside Assembly Hall where for the third year there was a pro-Chief rally organized by those wishing to revive the University of Illinois’ racist mascot. This year, protesters were made to stand behind a taped-off area and watched closely by University of Illinois police and Assembly Hall security. There was some confusion among officials over this practice, as one security guard told me that Assembly Hall was private property. When I asked UIPD Lieut. Skip Frost, he said that it was maintained by the University of Illinois, therefore it was public property, but the decision to tape off protesters had been made by the Assembly Hall management. The creation of such a “free speech zone,” which has previously been enforced at recent Democratic and Republican National Conventions, is a serious suspension of the First Amendment and modern method for controlling peaceful protest.

Students Confront Chancellor/Kick Off New Mascot Now! Weekend

About 50 people met outside Swanlund Administration Building on Friday, Oct. 22, at noon. A group calling itself “Students for a United Illinois,” made up of 19 different local organizations, is holding a series of events this weekend to protest a pro-Chief rally this homecoming weekend and pressure the University of Illinois administration for a new mascot. They are holding a counter-demonstration outside of Assembly Hall on Saturday at 5 p.m. and an after-party at ARC.

Despite a letter sent to Students for Chief Illiniwek by University of Illinois lawyers asking the group to “cease and desist” from using the school’s symbol, the so-called “Next Dance” is still going on. They were holding the event at Assembly Hall “for the children,” they said. Early reports are that ticket sales have been low.

The IMC Weekly for the week of Monday, October 18

Watch the IMC Weekly, a weekly video newsletter covering the upcoming events at the UCIMC.

Civil Suit Alleges Chief Finney Killed Kiwane Carrington

This story is a collaboration between UC-IMC and SmilePolitely.com

A civil suit filed on October 6 raises new questions about who shot Kiwane Carrington on October 9, 2009. The complaint filed on behalf of Jeshaun Manning-Carter and his mother, Laura Manning, alleges that Champaign Police Chief R.T. Finney, and not Officer Daniel Norbits, “fired a shot downward into the chest of Kiwane Carrington, killing Carrington.” The suit charges the City of Champaign and Finney with “intentional infliction of emotional distress” on Manning-Carter.

Alfred Ivy, attorney for the plaintiff, stated, “He [Manning-Carter] didn't want to talk about it for a long time; he wasn't comfortable talking about it.”

The allegation that Finney pulled the trigger is a direct contradiction of officers' sworn statements and the findings of the Illinois State Police investigation into the incident. Visit the Kiwane Carrington Timeline site for all the public documents associated with the investigation.

UC-IMC Sustaining Fund Open House

This year, the Urbana-Champaign Independent Media Center celebrates its 10th Anniversary. This Saturday, we are hosting the Sustaining Fund Open celebrating this achievement, and offering the public an opportunity to see our facilities, learn about our programs, and meet our staff and volunteers.

SUSTAINING FUND OPEN HOUSE
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 16
7:00-9:00PM

202 S. Broadway Ave.
Urbana, IL 61801
(The historic downtown Urbana Post Office building at the corner of Broadway and Elm in Urbana)

In addition, dedicated IMC members will announce the creation of a Sustaining Fund, ensuring the financial viability and stability of this vital community institution for years to come! Contributions will be used to pay down the mortgage, underwrite annual physical operations, and provide for emergency expenditures.

Unity March Honors the Memory of Kiwane Carrington

Several hundred people came out to the Unity March on October 9, 2010, marking a year to the day since Kiwane Carrington was killed by a Champaign police officer. In the face of recent news reports about supposed racial attacks, this year’s event stressed the need for unity. The large turn out was a sign that people desire a community free from police violence and media sensationalism.

The march began at 906 W. Vine St. in Champaign, the house where Kiwane Carrington approached by Police Chief R.T. Finney and Officer Daniel Norbits as he and a fried were trying to find a respite from the rain. October 9, 2010, however, was a warm, sunny day―a perfect day for a march. On the steps of the house, Nick Elam sang the Boys-to-Men song, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye,” before a solemn crowd.  

Surprisingly, Mike Sola, former WILL-580 weatherman and victim of an attack who has recently been featured in the media, showed up at the Unity March. He addressed the crowd saying that what was needed was not division, but unity to address the root problems in our community.

UIUC Joins National Day of Action to Defend Public Education

On Thursday, October 7, students, professors, and campus workers of the Campus Labor Coalition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign joined in a national day of action to save public education. Some 200 people showed up at a rally in front of the Alma Mater. Report cards were displayed and the crowd was permitted to grade the university on its performance. In recent years, the university administration has ballooned while tuition has gone up 9.5%, the number of black freshmen on campus has plummeted, and wages have been frozen. Due to these conditions, the grades given to the university were dismally low, with all Fs except for a D- in legislative lobbying.

The grade cards were then taken to the Swanlund Administration Building and delivered to the office of Chancellor Bob Easter. The following day, on October 8, a meeting is scheduled between members of the Campus Labor Coalition and University of Illinois President Michael Hogan at noon in the University YMCA Chapel. Today was only a report on mid-term grades. We will have to wait to see if the university administration will improve its standing.

Oct. 9: 7th Annual Unity March: Sowing the Seeds of Empowerment

Join us for UNITY MARCH 7! on the one year anniversary of Kiwane Carrington’s death to:

RECLAIM your neighborhood. RESTORE the relationships in the community. REMEMBER the life of Kiwane Carrington.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2010 12:00PM

Start: 906 W. Vine, Champaign 
End: Randolph St. Community Garden (Randolph St & Beardsley Ave, Champaign)

Garden Party with food & music! Fruit tree planting in memory of Kiwane Carrington
In the event of rain, reception will be held at the  Church of the Brethren (1210 N. Neil St.)

PRE-MARCH SYMPOSIUM: "Other deaths and other truths: Communities confronting state violence"
Presented by: UIUC "Landscapes of struggle in Illinois" Focal Point Group 
Friday Oct 8 at 6:30-9pm
Asian American Cultural Center

1210 West Nevada St., Urbana

ALL WELCOME. REFRESHMENTS SERVED

Rally Against Federal Surveillance at Champaign FBI Office

9/27: Champaign-Urbana Rally Against Federal Surveillance/Raids of Antiwar Activists

 

On Monday, September 27, 2010, a dozen activists, members of AWARE (Anti-War Anti-Racism Effort), and Campus Antiwar Network, held a demonstration at the FBI office in Champaign. This demonstration was held as part of a nationwide 3-day long effort to protest the federal surveillance and raids of anti-war and other social justice activists and organizers. These federal raids occurred on September 24th when eight houses belonging to anti-war activists and an office were raided by the FBI. Subpoenas were sent to 11 activists in Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan and activists from North Carolina and California were harassed. The FBI stated that no arrests were made, but these tactics point to a larger climate of state repression against anti-war, anti-imperialist and other social justice activists.

 

Students Break Up University of Illinois Board of Trustees Meeting

With the current crisis in higher education, the University of Illinois Board of Trustees two-day meeting on Sept. 23-4, 2010 was a highly anticipated one. At the end of the second day during the period for public comment, Pine Lounge in the UIUC union was a full, with others spilling into an overflow room. Present among the crowd were many students from the Graduate Emplyees’ Union (GEO), MEChA, and Undergraduate-Graduate Alliance.

During public comment, several students got up to address the board. Carlos Rosa addressed the difficulty of working class black and Latino students getting into the University of Illinois with the growing costs of tuition. He referred to the recent figures that only 359 African American students were in this year’s freshmen class and said it was “utterly ridiculous.” He pointed out it was more than 40 years ago that Project 500 was launched to bring 500 freshmen students to UIUC, and yet today these numbers are not nearly being met. Carlos called for the recruitment of minority students “from Chicago, to Champaign, to Cairo.”

Sept. issue of Public i out now!

The September issue of the Public i is out now with articles by Sarah Lazare on the ongoing war, Barbara Kessel on snitching, Neil Parthun on the use of use of tuition fees to subsidize sports profits, and Amy Allen on the anti-coal campaign.

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