Category Archives: Policing

Six Community Organizations Ask Urbana Council for a Study Session on Racial Disparities in Police Stops

October 7, 2013 The Urbana Police Department (UPD) has been reporting traffic stop data to the State of Illinois for nine years, 2004 through 2012.  City data trends and patterns of traffic law enforcement can now be discerned and documented … Continue reading

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21st Century Slavery, Electronic Style

Somewhere in the middle of a November night in 2009 I got a phone call from my then 95 year old mother. She said she had chest pains, had already phoned 911 and thought she was having a heart attack.  … Continue reading

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Angela Davis with CUCPJ at the IMC

Angela Davis gave a talk at the University YMCA’s Friday Forum on September 27, 2013 in its series “Beyond Mass Incarceration.” That morning, she spoke at the IMC and talked with members of CU Citizens for Peace and Justice, who … Continue reading

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How Privatization Destroyed Award-Winning Suicide Prevention Program in Champaign County Jail

Several years ago, while working at our local Books to Prisoners, I met a volunteer who had formerly worked as a mental health counselor in the local jail. This was just after there had been three jail suicides within a … Continue reading

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Fight to Stop New Jail Coming to a Head

I’ve been involved in the No New Jails in Champaign County campaign for over a year. Likely sometime in June or July our efforts will come to a head. The County Board likely will take a vote on whether to … Continue reading

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The Negative Impact of the War on Drugs in Our Community

Two Community Dialogues Thursday, Feb. 28, Levis Faculty Center (919 W. Illinois St., Urbana) Friday night, March 1, Salem Baptist Church (500 E. Park St., Champaign) 5:30-8:30 p.m. both nights Keynote Speakers: Neill Franklin, former narcotics officer and executive director … Continue reading

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The New Jim Crow Comes to Champaign-Urbana

If there was one constant during my six-and-a-half years in prison (apart from bad food), it was being surrounded by thousands of  mostly African-American and Latino men doing sentences like twenty, thirty or forty years for drug-related crimes. One friend … Continue reading

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Her Name Was Hadiya, And She Was Killed By A Gun

More than 500 young children have died from being in the wrong place at the wrong time.” (from an anti-gang violence PSA by Hadiya Pendleton and crew) “none among us should feel unsafe moving about/through the world, on the earth, … Continue reading

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Changes to Police Contract Come from “The Work of the Citizen”

Two out of three proposals presented two years ago by the grassroots organization, Champaign-Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice (CUCPJ), were included in the police union contract approved by Champaign city council on Tuesday night, December 4, 2012. In April … Continue reading

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A Tale of Two Cities: Public Access to Police Complaints in Champaign and Urbana

Backstory: Champaign Over the course of 2012, several pieces have been published in the Public i and the News Gazette regarding the city’s continued practice of ignoring Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests regarding complaints against the police and its … Continue reading

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Why Does Sheriff of Small Midwestern College Town Need a Drone?

Many have heard of the unmanned aerial vehicles, or “drones,” that the U.S. government has been flying over Pakistan and Afghanistan dropping bombs aimed at suspected militants and all too often killing innocent civilians. Increasingly, smaller versions of these planes … Continue reading

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Outstanding Documents Obtained in Police Brutality Case

After months of stalling, the city of Champaign has finally released documents about the incident on June 5, 2011 when a 20 year-old African American man, Brandon Ward, was choked in the back of a squad car by white officer … Continue reading

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Chris Drew Dies Day Before Eavesdropping Law Ruled Unconstitutional

(From Chicago Independent Media Center) – Chris Drew, Chicago artist, activist, and free speech advocate, passed away on May 7. Drew was noted among the community of Chicago political activists for being a consistent presence at political activist rallies and … Continue reading

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A Bad Idea: The County Board’s Proposal to Spend $20 Million on Jail Construction

Over the last few months a classic political power struggle has been taking place at Champaign County Board meetings.  At the center of it has been a Board proposal to spend $20 million on jail construction. People from Champaign-Urbana Citizens … Continue reading

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CUCPJ Public Forum on New Jail Proposal

Champaign Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice Present A Public Forum on: The County Board’s Proposal to Spend $20 Million on a New Jail Speakers: Carol Ammons, County Board member who opposes the jail proposal Members of Decarcerate Monroe County, … Continue reading

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Dismantling Democracy

By Marya Burke The very first amendment of our constitution states: “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech… or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” … Continue reading

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Coming Soon to a Police Department Near You: Unmanned Aerial Drones

Raven. Predator. Reaper. Over the last decade, we’ve heard the news reports about the Pentagon’s cutting-edge unmanned aerial platforms flying missions over Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Libya, Iran, and Somalia. Used for reconnaissance as well as search-and-destroy missions, the United … Continue reading

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Champaign: the City Above the Law

Take one: an individual asserts his rights under the Illinois Freedom of Information Act In 2009, dentist G. Mark Gekas lodged a complaint with the Sangamon County sheriff’s office that he had been brutally mistreated by deputy sheriff John Gillette … Continue reading

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A Residency Requirement Might Help Police Situation

A Residency Requirement Might Help Police Situation   Dannel McCollum, a former Champaign mayor and a Democratic candidate for the state Senate in 2002, is a historian and a freelance writer.   This piece originally appeared in the News-Gazette on … Continue reading

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Cartoon on June 5th Incident

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