News Local/State

Documents Show How Un-Fired Officer Is Back On Patrol


This past spring, a Champaign police officer was let back on patrol after nearly being fired for excessive use of force. Eight months later, videos and documents have finally been released showing multiple accounts of the officer using force against civilians.

The Champaign Police leadership tried to fire officer Matt Rush in July of 2014, citing three incidents--two of which included use of force. But in April, Rush's termination was blocked by the Fraternal Order of Police after an arbitrator for the police union found some of Rush's actions justified. Instead of being fired, Rush was suspended for 34 days, and put back on patrol.

Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb sent the termination letter to Rush last summer, but says he's complying with the arbitrator's decision.

"I have to play by the rules like I expect my employees to play by the rules," he said. "We went through the process and the process produced this outcome and we move forward."

Cobb says Rush went through de-escalation training when he was let back on the job, and is under extra supervision for the time being.

Last week, the city settled a lawsuit related to another use-of-force incident involving Rush and another officer. The Champaign City Council approved a $25,000 settlement.