No Charges To Be Filed In Champaign Centennial Protest Incident

January 28, 2015
Screenshot of video showing a car driving through a student rally outside Centennial High School.

Screenshot from a video showing a car driving in the middle of a student rally at Centennial High School on Thursday, December 4th.

(You Tube)

Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz says no criminal charges will be filed after a December protest on the street outside Champaign’s Centennial High School resulted in damage to broken windshield.  Reitz suggests instead that those involved find a solution through mediation, and not the courtroom.

The December 4 ‘die-in’ organized in response to the deaths of black men by white police officers in Ferguson, Missouri and New York was planned for inside the school with the consent of administrators.  But a number of students went outdoors, and onto Crescent Drive. 

In a press release, Rietz says a northbound female driver, whose name has not been released, said students surrounded her car, and she let off brake to roll forward out of the crowd.  She said students started hitting her car, shattering the windshield.

Reitz says Champaign Police officers reviewed video taken by news media, as well as students in the protest, and could identify five students who either admitted to hitting the car or were identified as such, but accounts of who broke the window differed.

“However, accounts of who actually broke the window differed,” she said, saying some witnesses and officers were unable to determine who actually broke the window.  “Criminal charges against a specific individual for breaking the windshield would be difficult if not impossible to sustain.”

Rietz also said there is no evidence that the driver acted recklessly, with disregard for the safety of others, and that no student sought medical treatment for any injuries sustained in the incident.  

The State’s Attorney said she’s been “working with the parties to resolve the outstanding issues through mediation and community education.”

She said Unit 4 is also working with the driver’s attorney to reach an agreement on damages to her vehicle.

Story source: WILL

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