No criminal charges filed in Centennial High School incident

CHAMPAIGN - Champaign County State's Attorney Julia Rietz says no criminal charges will be filed in an incident at a Champaign high school that resulted in a car being damaged.

Authorities say Centennial High School students staged a protest inside the school on December 4, 2014.  Upon learning that television media would not be allowed into the building to film the protest, the students went outside the building.  After leaving the building, a large number of students left the school's property and went onto Crescent Drive, where they met a woman who was driving her vehicle.

According to authorities, the students began to march around her vehicle while chanting and carrying signs.  The driver of the vehicle told police that she took her foot off of the brake to roll forward, at which time students began to strike her car, resulting in her windshield being broken.

During their investigation, Champaign police were able to identify five students who either admitted to hitting the car or were identified as hitting the car.  However, accounts of who actually broke the windshield differed, making it very difficult, if not impossible, to sustain criminal charges against a specific individual.  Police also say there is no evidence that the driver acted recklessly, as video of the incident and statements from witnesses show the car was completely stopped until surrounded by students, and that the students were very close to the car, making the driver concerned for her own safety.  No one sought any medical treatment for any injuries sustained in this incident.

As a result of the investigation, Rietz says no criminal charges will be filed against any of the participants of this incident.  Rietz also says she has been working with both parties to resolve any outstanding issues, including the repair of the driver's vehicle.
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