News Local/State

Head of UI’s Police Training Institute Discusses Use Of Force Law


With the annoucement that Champaign Police Officer Matt Rush will not face criminal charges, Illinois Public Media's Niala Boodhoo spoke with the Director of the University of Illinois' Police Training Institute to offer his views on the issue of use of force under Illinois law.

Rush faces multiple lawsuits alleging excessive use of force. Those allegations were part of the reason Police Chief Anthony Cobb fired Rush in 2014, but he was reinstated after an arbitrator's review. 

Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz explained her decision not to bring charges Tuesday, saying the evidence wouldn't overcome the burden of proof that was needed, and pointing several times to Illinois' law on use of force.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council released a statement Wednesday, in response to Rietz' decision and comments that he will no longer serve as a witness for the for the state in criminal procedings.

Matt Rush is a good police officer who wants nothing more than to keep protecting and serving the citizens of Champaign," said FOP Labor Council General Counsel Tamara Cummings.  "He has had several letters of praise and commendation from citizens and his superiors for diligently stopping and solving serious crimes and the way he has conducted himself during difficult as well as routine police situations."

Cummings said, "While we appreciate the State's Attorney's common sense refusal to prosecute Officer Rush, we question why she would hurl an accusation like 'untruthfulness' with no evidence or explanation to back it up. At best, it seems like an attempt to placate some voters who have made their feelings known in this matter.  There is no good reason why Officer Matt Rush should not be returned to active duty, unless the decision-makers in Champaign listen to the Court of Public Opinion instead of the Court of Law."