News Local/State

Champaign Fires Officer Matt Rush A Second Time


The city of Champaign has fired Police Office Matt Rush for a second time, citing two internal investigations, including one regarding alleged behavior in a local bar.  Rush has been the subject of four excessive force lawsuits. Three of them have resulted in settlements paid by the city, totaling $320-thousand.

The city Wednesday released two letters of discipline signed by Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb. 

The first cites Rush’s quote ‘repeated failure to adequately document your use of force, disciplinary history, and concerns regarding judgement and decision making in crisis situations – particularly with respect to the mentally ill.’ 

Cobb noted that Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz has said her office would no longer use Officer Rush as a witness in trial proceedings, and stated that prevented him from fully performing his duties as an officer.

Cobb’s second letter cites Rush’s actions at Fat City Bar and Grill on the night of February 20th. 

Cobb says that Rush was “highly intoxicated”, and shows his badge and off-duty weapon while representing himself as an officer. 

Rush was fired in 2014, but an arbitrator with the Fraternal Order of Police reinstated him to the job, under the terms of a union contract.  An FOP spokesperson Wednesday declined to comment – saying he needed to learn more about the case.

UPDATE - Rush's attorney, Michael Zopf, told the News-Gazette Wednesday that Rush plans to file an appeal.  The newspaper also cited an FOP statment that the officer had its backing.

Rush has been unpaid leave from the department since the beginning of February.