A dash cam video shows a Champaign, Illinois cop pepper spraying and possibly choking a man he had confronted for jaywalking.
Champaign Mayor Don Gerard is “gravely disappointed,” but not by anything depicted in the video. His consternation is over the fact that it was released to the public.
Champaign Mayor Don Gerard said he is ‘gravely disappointed’ the police video was posted online, saying it is counteractive to anything the city is trying to achieve in terms of police-community relations. The mayor added that he is ‘very confident’ that state police will investigate the June 5 arrest.
“I hoping that despite (the video being released) that whatever actions the city and the state’s attorney take aren’t compromised,” Gerard said.
Because the best way to preserve police-community relations apparently isn’t to, you know, actually prevent police abuse . . . but to prevent the community from knowing about it when it happens.
And it isn’t the first time Champaign authorities have tried to squelch video of possible police misconduct. From my Reason feature on the war on cameras:
In one high-profile 2004 case, police arrested documentary filmmaker Patrick Thompson for recording their interactions with bar and restaurant patrons in Champaign and Urbana. (Thompson was making a movie about tensions between police and African Americans in the town.) The ACLU of Illinois submitted an amicus brief on Thompson’s behalf, asking the judge overseeing his case to overturn the law on First Amendment grounds . . . A new district attorney was elected while Thompson’s charges were still pending, who then dropped all of the charges against Thompson after taking office.
Thompson’s arrest was of course done under the auspices of that odious Illinois wiretapping law.