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3rd Excessive Force Settlement Over Champaign Police Officer Set For City Council Vote

Champaign Police Officer Matt Rush

Champaign Police Officer Matt Rush Champaign Police Department

The Champaign City Council will be asked at its Feb. 2 meeting to approve a $70,000 settlement in a third excessive force lawsuit against police officer Matt Rush.

The tentative settlement, announced Friday, would dismiss a federal lawsuit filed by Kisica Seets against the city and three of the four officers involved (except Rush).

Seets alleges that Rush used excessive force in arresting her on April 11, 2014, following a fight with her sister, and that other officers did not act to stop him.

In a memo outlining the settlement to council members, City Manager Dorothy David wrote that, according to Seets’ claim, “Police Officer Matt Rush allegedly performed a knee strike on the claimant after she was handcuffed”.

According to David, Seets later pled guilty to aggravated battery to a police officer.

“The City carefully considered all the facts related to this case, including the costs the City would incur to further defend itself against these allegations,” said City Attorney Fred Stavins in a news release. “Both sides saw the benefit of avoiding the additional expense of litigation by settling the case at this juncture.”

Under terms of the settlement, Seets will drop her lawsuit against the city of Champaign, Ofc. Rush and three other officers. In return the city will pay Seets $70,000. More than half of the amount is cover legal costs and fees.

The Champaign City Council voted in December to approved payments to settle two other excessive-force lawsuits involving Ofc. Rush. In those cases, the city council approved settlement payments of $25,000 to William Brown and $250,000 to Benjamin Mann.

Investigations of Rush’s conduct led Police Chief Anthony Cobb to dismiss him in August 2014. But an arbitrator acting under terms of the city’s labor contract with police officers changed the dismissal to a 34-day suspension, and ordered his reinstatement.