Second Proposed Excessive Force Settlement Involving Champaign Officer
Champaign City Council members will vote next week on a proposal to settle a second excessive force lawsuit involving Officer Matt Rush. The proposed $225,000 settlement stems from a complaint from Benjamin Mann. It’s nine times the size of the settlement the city council approved last week in a separate incident.
Despite the cost, Champaign City Attorney Fred Stavins says it could be much more expensive for the case to go to trial, and both sides saw a benefit in settling out of court.
“We need to be concerned about the outcome of the case - the possibility of any award of damages would carry with it the plaintiff’s attorney’s fees as well, which are considerable," he said. "After considerable review of all facts of this case, including the costs the city would incur to defend itself against these allegations, both parties agreed to settle."
Mann’s lawsuit named Officer Rush and six other police officers as defendants.
It alleged that Rush pinned Mann to the ground, pepper sprayed him, and hit him repeatedly in the abdomen during an altercation on March 16, 2014.
Police records show an unidentified Champaign woman called 911 early that morning, saying she and her boyfriend had just split, and wanted some police presence just to be safe while they exchanged keys.
Rush was fired by Police Chief Anthony Cobb last summer, but reinstated to his job by an arbitrator.