Champaign Police provide this news release as an update into the Department’s internal investigation of the June 11, 2017 shooting incident in which Champaign Police Officer James Hobson reported an accidental discharge of his duty weapon during the apprehension of a fleeing subject. The single bullet discharge resulted in the subject, 22-year-old Dehari Banks, being struck in the shoulder, causing a non-life-threatening gunshot wound.
According to reports, Officer Hobson initiated a traffic stop of a vehicle that Dehari Banks was driving. Banks eluded the officer for several blocks before ultimately crashing into a residential garage and fleeing on foot. The foot chase ended when Banks reached a fenced-in area in the 300 Block of N. Fourth St.; at which time Banks turned towards Officer Hobson, who drew his duty weapon as he was coming to a running stop. Officer Hobson reports that as he stopped, his foot slipped on the ground, causing an accidental discharge of his weapon.
Immediately following the shooting, the Champaign County Multi-Jurisdictional Investigative Team, led by the Illinois State Police, conducted its investigation into the incident. The Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office reviewed those findings, along with associated evidence, and determined there to be no basis for criminal charges with regards to Officer Hobson’s actions.
Further internal investigation was conducted by the Champaign Police Department, per Department Policy 1.5: Firearms Discharge Investigation and Review, including evaluation from the Department’s Firearms Discharge Review Board, and final review and ruling by Chief of Police Anthony Cobb.
The internal investigation concluded that Officer Hobson’s discharge was accidental, however, cited that Officer Hobson’s weapon was not handled with due care and violated Champaign PoliceDepartment Rule 4H: City Property and Equipment – Carrying Firearms.
As a result, on December 1, Officer Hobson was issued an unpaid 10-day suspension. Hobson was also assigned to corrective firearms training, directly following the shooting. Upon completion of firearms training and receipt of the State’s Attorney’s ruling, Officer Hobson returned to patrol duties on August 24.
A personal injury claim for Dehari Banks was issued to the City of Champaign in regard to this incident. After legal review and recommendation, on December 5, 2017, Champaign City Council authorized a settlement of the personal injury claim in the amount of $93,000 [Council Bill No. 2017 – 230].