Community members concerned about policing methods, retaliation
November 18, 2009
Community members voiced their opinions about policing methods in Champaign in conjunction with the investigation into the death of 15-year old Kiwane Carrington at Tuesday’s Champaign City Council meeting.
“I’m concerned about this city and the community,” said Robert Brownlee, Champaign resident. “We’re looking forward to moving past this situation, and we’re not here to point fingers at anybody.”
Carrington was shot by a Champaign police officer during an altercation Oct. 9 that also involved Chief of Police R.T. Finney and another 15-year-old.
Brownlee said he is waiting for the state’s attorney to publicly discuss the investigation.
Artice James, Champaign resident and member of the National Council of African American Men, said the city council needs to revise the police department’s use of force policy and called for a citizen review board for incidents using excessive force.
“Use of force needs to be written in a way where citizens are less likely to be hurt but still allows the police to do their job,” James said.
Dist. 1 Councilman Will Kyles said the taser section and other parts of the use of force policy concerned him.
“We are looking at revisiting some of the topics in the use of force policy,” he said.
Kyles also talked about revising the complaint process.
“You wouldn’t want to complain to the same person you have a complaint about,” he said. “The biggest reason there aren’t more complaints is a fear of retaliation.”
Karen Foster, council member-at large, said she wants to support the police but wants to make sure people are not fearful of them.
Terry Townsend, Champaign resident, said he fears a riot when the Carrington investigation is made public.
“When the report is released, we are urging parents to keep their kids at home,” Townsend said. “If they’re going to school, parents or guardians should escort them there.”
Dist. 4 Councilwoman Marci Dodds said targeting the Champaign Community and Police Partnership and keeping children home from school is not in the best interest of the community.
“I hope we can continue to make constructive decisions and move forward,” she said.