Letter: State’s attorney is wrong

The Daily Illini’s editorial on Sept. 16, “Renewing the Public’s Trust,” was right on target. The charges of eavesdropping against Martel Miller and Patrick Thompson are absurd; these men broke no law, and by recording and therefore making transparent the activities of on-duty police officers, they were actually providing a public service.

The news that Champaign County State’s Attorney John Piland is seeking felony convictions on behalf of the two officers raises some serious questions. Can they really be guilty of eavesdropping when TV shows like Cops do the same thing, only more intrusively, and never see a lawsuit? Was it eavesdropping to write to the mayor and the chief of police before they shot one frame of video?

Most importantly, does anyone believe for a moment that Piland would have charged Miller and Thompson with eavesdropping had they been star basketball players at the University? The state’s attorney has a history of undercharging the privileged and important and swinging for the fences when it comes to sentences for the less fortunate of Champaign County.

It seems to me the only way to renew the public’s trust is to place that trust in someone new.

Abraham Epton

President, Students for Julia Rietz for State’s Attorney

senior in LAS