News Local/State

Champaign Council To Vote On Final Settlement Involving Rush


The Champaign City Council Tuesday will be asked to approve the last lawsuit settlement involving former city police officer Matt Rush – who the city permanently terminated a month ago Friday. Three previous excessive force lawsuit settlments involving Rush totaled $320,000. The last settlement for $250,000 involves Rush and two other officers, and was filed by Precious Jackson.

Her lawsuit stems from a May 2014 arrest, in which Jackson contends Rush's actions caused her to lose her unborn child when Rush slammed her to the ground. It also contends that Rush and another officer were aware that Jackson had mental health issues when called to a report of a kitchen fire at her home. 

Officers Matt Crane and Ashley Petkunas were named as co-defendants. 

A month ago Friday, the city fired Rush for good, agreeing to a $50,000 separation agreement with the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, following two-and-a-half years of appeals and litigation. Rush had previously reinstated to his job by an FOP arbitrator after being dismissed a first time.

The second firing stems from an incident at Champaign's Fat City Bar and Grill in which he displayed his gun and badge while off-duty and on leave

"No matter who's involved in a lawsuit, we're glad the litigation is done," said Champaign City Attorney Fred Stavins. "It ends the expense of litigation, which is considerable on both sides, it allows people to focus more on the future than in the past, and hopefully it provides a measure of peace for all the people involved."

The other agreement before the city council involves a lawsuit filed by Kyle O'Brien, who claimed officers Jeff Pickett and Jed Mackey used excessive force when O'Brien was arrested in August 2013 and later charged with disorderly conduct.  A November 2016 trial ended in a hung jury. That settlement is for $175,000. 

The Champaign City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m.