Community groups call for action against Champaign police officer accused of excessive force

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CHAMPAIGN – Community groups in Champaign are calling for action against Matt Rush, a police officer who has been on the force for five years.

Rush was the subject of a lawsuit settled this month by the Champaign City Council. William Brown of Champaign claimed he was punched in the head by Officer Rush when he was not resisting arrest. The case was settled for $25,000.

The Champaign Police Chief fired Rush last summer but a union arbitrator thought the punishment was excessive and Rush returned to the force in April on a different shift.

The NAACP and other concerned groups are outraged Officer Rush is still on the job.

“I personally do not want anything like this to happen to another citizen,” said NAACP President Patricia Avery.

On Tuesday, the Champaign City Council voted to settle another case against Matt Rush. The $225,000 payment to Benjamin Mann, 31, is the result of a lawsuit that claims Rush escalated a domestic violence call, kneed a man five times in the groin, pepper-sprayed him, and placed cuffs on him so tight they dug into his wrists.

Concerned groups want Rush to be held accountable. They want the city to establish a Civilian Review Board with subpoena power. They also want the State’s Attorney to charge Rush with Aggravated Battery.

A third lawsuit involving a woman arrested by Rush is still pending.

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