Category Archives: Policing

The Ubuntu Project and the Need for a Progressive Shift in Policing

Ubuntu is a term that originated with the Zulu people and roughly translates to “humanity” in English. The term emerged as a political concept following apartheid’s disintegration in South Africa. Now a collective of local community members, scholars, clergy, and … Continue reading

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Police Brutality is Not Uniquely American: Try France

While we are rightly preoccupied with abuse by the police in the United States, almost no Americans know anything about policing and justice in other countries. France offers a particularly interesting case. In January, six nongovernmental organizations, including Amnesty International … Continue reading

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The 2021 Illinois Police and Criminal Justice Reform Bill

On February 22, Governor Pritzker signed House Bill 3653. This bill, rather a composite omnibus of many bills, was sponsored by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in both the Illinois House and Senate. Several of the individual bills were sponsored … Continue reading

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Urbana Police Chief Finally Admits Misconduct in Aleyah Lewis Arrest

  It has been more than seven months since the violent arrest of Urbana resident Aleyah Lewis. Tens of thousands of people have watched the videos of Urbana Police Officers throwing Lewis to the ground, pinning her, punching her in the … Continue reading

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What Educational Values and Beliefs Underpin a Decision to have Armed School Resource Officers?

This article was previously published in Smile Politely,  On December 17, 2019, the Urbana Board of Education (BOE) signed an intergovernmental agreement to approve funding of two full-time armed police officers (called School Resource Officers, or SROs)—one at the middle … Continue reading

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Police Unions: Solidarity and Accountability

The Police and Solidarity There are two major differences between police officers and other workers in both the private and public sector. The first is a truncated sense of solidarity, the second a lack of accountability. Unionized workers in both … Continue reading

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Chalk It Up to Protecting Property Over People

In July Michael Long, owner of the Rogue Barber Co. in downtown Champaign, implemented a discriminatory “membership only” policy. The issue came to public attention on July 23, when a female Champaign resident shared screenshots on social media of a … Continue reading

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How Are Violent Police Held Accountable in Champaign County?

On April 10, Urbana Police officers threw an African American woman, Aleyah Lewis, to the ground and punched her while she was down. She had protested the arrest of a friend. Caught on video, this led many people in the … Continue reading

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Public Speaks Out About Use of Force by Urbana Police–Council Reviews Police Investigation

  On April 10, Urbana police responded to a call on East Colorado Avenue about an armed man and possible shot fired. Police arrived, frisked an uninvolved youth, and then focused on a man and woman they suspected were involved. … Continue reading

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Comment from ACLU to Urbana City Council Regarding Aleyah Lewis’ Arrest

Champaign County ACLU appreciates the city of Urbana’s commitment to community-centered policing and to maintaining a well-trained professional police force that is held to the highest standards. We are concerned about the lack of professionalism during the April 10 arrest … Continue reading

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No Accident: White Cop Shoots Another Black Man in Champaign

The shooting of unarmed Black men by white police in the United States is a story that keeps repeating over and over. The recent case of a local 22-year-old African American man shot in the shoulder by Champaign police officer … Continue reading

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Fighting Mass Incarceration Under Trump: New Strategies, New Alliance

By James Kilgore Yusef Shakur is a Detroit community organizer who spent several years in Michigan state prisons. “The prison-industrial complex has found the right person to feed it,” he said in response to the election results. “Trump is of … Continue reading

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Myths of Unity

An increasingly polarized climate has resulted in this beautiful revolution we call Black Lives Matter we are experiencing today. As both an observer and victim of this increasingly militarized society I’m proud to see us finally unite. However, I’m afraid. … Continue reading

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The Myron Scruggs Case and the Champaign Police Department

by Belden Fields An  Ugly Image From the Past In the late 1960s, I joined the newly created chapter of the Champaign County ACLU and became the chair of its investigations committee. I received a call from a woman member … Continue reading

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Youth Poetry

MY CURLY HAIR by Amina Alamin My curly hair can do anything it can be in big braids and in little braids and curled in to ringlets and many more things. Some people don’t like my hair and some people … Continue reading

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Courtwatch Victory

By Courtwatchers Courtwatchers is a group of citizens who volunteer to attend criminal proceedings by request of the defendant,a family member or a concerned party. We are there as witnesses to criminal justice in Champaign County, to figure out how … Continue reading

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The Racial Justice Task Force Bursts Onto the Scene

The Champaign County Racial Justice Task Force met for the first time on Thursday, February 11 at the Brookens Administrative Center.  The task force consists of 21 members, just one person shy of the number of Champaign County Board members.  … Continue reading

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Supporting the Voices Inside: The Freedom Archives

“When the prison doors are opened the real dragon will fly out.” -Ho Chi Minh The movements to end mass incarceration were re-invigorated in early September as a settlement in the class action lawsuit Ashker v. Governor of California was … Continue reading

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Children With Incarcerated Parents Played Key Role in Phone Justice Victory!

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted recently to cap the rates of phone calls from prisons and jails after years of profiteering by telecommunications companies that have made millions off of those incarcerated and their families. In her comments before … Continue reading

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This Black Life Matters

Michael Brown was killed a year ago. They used to say, “It’s been a long, hot summer” but it’s been another long, hot, horror-filled year in the US; every single day another Michael Brown. This is someone I know. In … Continue reading

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