Category Archives: Police

IMC Holds a Second Public Safety Forum

On March 24, the UCIMC hosted a second public safety forum focused on alternative responses to traditional law enforcement. The forum was organized in accordance with calls from Urbana residents and elected officials for a study of alternatives to traditional … Continue reading

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After Fatal Shootings, Rantoul Police Recommended More Training: They Sent One Officer to a Gun Range

A version of this article originally appeared on IPM Newsroom on February 5, 2024. It has been edited for space and style. See the full version on the Public i’s website. This story is part of a partnership between the … Continue reading

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Champaign Hired Police Chief Timothy Tyler Despite Disciplinary Past and Allegations of Misconduct—Print Version

A version of this article originally appeared on IPM Newsroom on January 9, 2024. It has been edited for space and style. See the full version on the Public i website. This story is part of a partnership between the … Continue reading

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Champaign Hired Police Chief Timothy Tyler Despite Disciplinary Past and Allegations of Misconduct—Original (Long) Version

A version of this article originally appeared on IPM Newsroom on January 9, 2024. It has been edited for style. See the shorter, print version here. This story is part of a partnership, focusing on police misconduct in Champaign County, … Continue reading

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As Police Budget Swells, Safety Forum Articulates a Different Vision

Crime is going down in Urbana, but you wouldn’t know it from looking at Urbana’s police budget. After a $2.25 million increase in the police budget in the last two years—largely for salary increases and bonuses—Urbana leadership is pushing to … Continue reading

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Champaign Police Investigate “Agency Culture” of Not Following Domestic Violence Reporting Laws — Print Version

A longer version of this article originally appeared on IPM Newsroom on October 9, 2023. It has been edited for space and style. See the full version here. This story is part of a partnership between the Invisible Institute’s Champaign-Urbana … Continue reading

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Champaign Police Investigate “Agency Culture” of Not Following Domestic Violence Reporting Laws — Original (Long) Version

This story was originally published by IPM Newsroom on October 9, 2023. It has been edited for style. See the shorter, print version here. This story is part of a partnership focusing on police misconduct in Champaign County between the … Continue reading

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A “Pattern of Problematic Conduct”: Urbana Officer Tests Police Accountability (Shortened Print Version)

This article originally appeared at WILL/Illinois Public Media on July 5, 2023. Reprinted with permission. It has been edited for space and style. See the full version here. “I had a big goose egg on my forehead,” Tianna Morrow recalled, … Continue reading

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A “Pattern of Problematic Conduct”: Urbana Officer Tests Police Accountability (Full Version)

This story is part of a partnership, focusing on police misconduct in Champaign County, between the Champaign-Urbana Civic Police Data Project of the Invisible Institute, a Chicago-based nonprofit public accountability journalism organization, and Illinois Public Media. This investigation was supported … Continue reading

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Code Blue: Suffering through DWB in Rantoul

This essay, submitted to the Rantoul Press in 2009, was never published. The author shares it now to give context to community concerns with policing in Rantoul in the wake of recent police shootings of young Black men. “You were … Continue reading

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No Such Thing As a “Safe” Jail: 31-Year-Old Woman Dies at Champaign County Jail

On October 13, 2022, Tillie Deitz, a mother of three young children, died in the Champaign County jail. As I found in my own review of publicly available documents, Deitz admitted to being a drug user upon entering the jail … Continue reading

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Central Illinois Police Training for Mental Health Cases Questioned — Print Version

Tisha Bryson has been shackled, hospitalized, and shoved to the ground by Champaign-area police while experiencing a mental health crisis more times than she can count. “I try not to hold grudges,” said Bryson, of Hammond. “But some of the … Continue reading

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Central Illinois Police Training for Mental Health Cases Questioned — Full Version

Tisha Bryson has been shackled, hospitalized and shoved to the ground by central Illinois law enforcement officers while experiencing a mental health crisis more times than she can count. “I try not to hold grudges,” Bryson said, a resident of … Continue reading

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“It’s a Money Grab”: Billions in COVID Relief Going to Fund Police and Prisons

If you’re from inner-city Birmingham, Alabama, there’s a “99-percent chance” you have a family member or friend who has been incarcerated, according to Veronica Johnson, deputy director for the Alabama Justice Initiative, which has been fighting against a proposal to … Continue reading

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Urbana’s Long Search for Traffic-Stop Equity

In 2004 the State of Illinois required all law enforcement agencies to report their annual traffic stop data to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). The Urbana Police Department’s (UPD) data shows they have enforced traffic laws inequitably every year … Continue reading

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There’s Something Happening Here

Gun violence in Champaign-Urbana has certainly dominated public discourse of late. As a city council member, I hear a lot of it. Here are some common myths being thrown around about local gun violence and law enforcement: “The libs on … Continue reading

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Debt Peonage in the 21st Century: The Shamar Betts Case Continues

On August 19, Shamar Betts was sentenced to 48 months in federal prison (minus 12 for time served) for authoring a Facebook post. The sentencing also made Betts personally responsible for repaying $1.5 million for damage committed by others at … 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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Scapegoating and the 2020 Marketplace Mall Riots

I watched the legal machinery eat further into the life of a young man this past month. On June 14, I joined others at the sentencing hearing for Shamar Betts at the federal courthouse in Urbana. Betts is accused of … 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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