Police Union: Investigation Tied To ‘Negative Publicity’
The Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council calls the decision to put Officer Matt Rush on paid investigative leave a ‘direct result’ of negative publicity and inaccurate public statements, and not Rush’s actions while on duty. The News-Gazette reported Friday that it obtained a letter written by Police Chief Anthony Cobb, informing Rush of the investigation – and that he's had his police powers removed.
In a statement, Labor Council General Counsel Tamara Cummings goes on to say Rush "cannot go anywhere in public and enjoy his time off without risking being falsely accused of wrongdoing."
"While we understand it is the police department's obligation to investigate every allegation made against an officer, we are confident this baseless accusation will be proven false," she said.
Cummings says Rush should be allowed to 'enjoy his time off duty like any citizen has a right to do.'
He’s been the subject of three excessive force lawsuits settled by the city for a total of $320,000 while a fourth is pending. Cobb tried to fire the officer in 2014, but the dismissal was overturned by a union arbitrator.
A number of critics, notably African-American leaders, have called for Rush’s dismissal.
Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz has declined to press charges, but says her office won’t use Rush as a witness in court.