Prosecute Officer Matt Rush for Brutalizing Black Residents

State's Attorney Julia Reitz

Benjamin-mann

Champaign Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice, Black Lives Matter Champaign Chapter, and Showing Up For Racial Justice, are demanding State’s Attorney Julia Reitz criminally prosecute and bring to justice Officer Matt Rush for brutalizing Black residents. Please sign this petition and join us at to demonstrate at the Champaign County Courthouse 101 E. Main St, Urbana on Friday, Feb. 26th at 9am.

Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb attempted to fire Rush in 2014, and his decision was supported by City Manager Dorothy David, but the Fraternal Order of Police appealed and Rush got his job back. He is currently still on the police force.

This case of police brutality has surfaced in the context of several incidents of police killings and beatings across the United States. The Rush case recently made national headlines in the Huffington Post.

One way to remove Officer Rush and bring justice for his many victims is to charge him criminally – something State’s Attorney Julia Reitz has so far refused to do.

The City of Champaign has already paid out $320,000 to settle excessive force lawsuits against Officer Rush, including the beating of Benjamin Mann who suffered bruises and lesions to his face.

Most recently a fourth lawsuit was filed by a Precious Jackson, who was beaten so badly she suffered a miscarriage. A video of the incident can be viewed here. The suit states:

“[Rush] tackled her and slammed her to the ground. He straddled her and put his full body weight on Jackson's stomach and torso. Jackson was only wearing a nightgown, which came up and exposed her breasts and vagina. While on top of Jackson, Rush punched her, sprayed her in the eyes with OC spray, kneed her in the thigh and groin...the actions of Officer Rush also caused (Jackson) to lose her unborn child.”

These lawsuits come after years of complaints by the public against Officer Rush. In 2011, Rush was first exposed for beating Calvin Milller, the son of community activist Martel Miller.

In December 2015, hundreds demonstrated at a Champaign city council meeting, calling for Rush to be fired. Shortly after, a group of African American community leaders met with State’s Attorney Reitz asking her to criminally charge Rush. Reitz, who is facing a contender in the race for State’s Attorney this Fall, said she didn’t have enough information to bring charges.

The most recent lawsuit claims the City of Champaign has known that Officer Rush has a “tendency to punch people.” In fact, Rush had the most use-of-force incidents in its entire police department in 2013 and 2014.

State’s Attorney Reitz must move swiftly to show that police brutality will not be tolerated here. Rush – and officers who continue to violate the civil rights of residents – should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

To: State's Attorney Julia Reitz
From: [Your Name]

We demand that you criminally prosecute and bring to justice Officer Matt Rush for brutalizing Black residents. Your lack of action to date means that Officer Matt Rush continues to serve on the police force despite being a clear danger to the community. You must must move swiftly to show that police brutality will not be tolerated here. Officer Rush – and officers who continue to violate the civil rights of residents – should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.​