UIPD responds to Confederate flag incident


Photo courtesy of Michael LeRoy

Michael LeRoy, professor in Law, photographed a pickup truck with a Confederate flag attached. Several reports to police were made Wednesday night on the driver shouting racial slurs.

By Clare Budin, Assistant Daytime News Editor

Chief of Police Craig Stone sent out a Massmail to students and faculty Friday regarding an incident and reports on Green Street Wednesday evening.

According to witnesses who reported the incident Wednesday night, a young white male driving a late-model white Ford pickup truck decorated with the Confederate flag was shouting racial slurs at passersby while driving through a student-heavy area.

In a statement to the News-Gazette, Michael LeRoy, professor in Labor and Employment Relations, said he saw the truck driving through the intersection of First and Green Streets at around 8:30 p.m. while he was driving through Campustown. 

LeRoy said the truck had three flags set up in the bed, but the most prominent was an American flag that had been cut in half and attached to a Confederate flag.

As he got closer to the truck to take a photo, LeRoy said the driver yelled and repeated a profanity and a racial slur “at the top of his lungs.”

LeRoy said he reported the incident to the police in case anything escalated and posted the photo he obtained on Facebook.

LeRoy called the incident “a campus climate issue,” even if the man’s actions weren’t illegal.

Champaign Police Lt. Bruce Ramseyer said police received LeRoy’s call at 9:19 p.m., but no officers reported seeing the truck after information was spread to the department.

Ramseyer said a second caller reported seeing a truck with a Confederate flag but didn’t hear the driver say anything.

News of the incident quickly spread throughout the student population and the University’s Black United Front issued a warning around noon Thursday of white supremacists “verbally assaulting students” in two other incidents that have not yet been officially confirmed.

In Friday’s Massmail, Stone stated the University of Illinois Police Department will be providing increased police presence on Green Street as well as other parts on campus.

“We will always treat reports like this with the utmost seriousness and investigate them as quickly as we can,” the Massmail read.

These reports haven’t been the only instance of racially-charged displays and rhetoric on campus. Last week, Erik McDuffie, professor in LAS, alerted University police and campus officials to a photo he had received from a student showing offensive graffiti in a men’s bathroom stall in the Armory.

Anti-semitism has also being a growing source of concern and controversy, with four swastikas being found on campus in recent weeks, although some appear to be old and unrelated to each other.

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