On August 13, 2020, the Champaign Police Station was vandalized by a group of individuals who informed the City that they were there to peacefully protest. The City of Champaign supports peaceful protests and our residents’ rights to self-expression, however, the defacing of public property, like what occurred last night at the Champaign Police Department, will not be tolerated. The acts of vandalism included the use of non-water-soluble paint, glue, and other materials applied to the building, sidewalk, and other public infrastructure, which resulted in property damage that had to be removed by City crews this morning. Racial slurs that violated the City’s Human Rights Ordinance and images insinuating threats to City employees were also cleaned and removed from public property.
For the past several weeks, members of the Champaign City Council, City administration, and police staff, have been communicating with event organizers to provide clear guidance about what is and is not allowed during peaceful protests. The City was working in good faith with the event organizers and were assured that last night’s event would be a peaceful protest, but unfortunately several individuals arrived at the event and began doing damage to public property.
Mayor Deborah Frank Feinen said, “Two months ago I was so proud of our community as we peacefully protested the senseless killing of George Floyd. Over 2,000 of us walked together, masked in downtown Urbana – black and white, police and protesters. Together we were searching for ways to become a better community. I looked across the crowd in front of the Courthouse steps and watched Chief Cobb take a knee among a sea of protesters to chants of ‘No justice, no peace’ and ‘I can’t breathe.’ Today that peaceful momentum for positive change has turned ugly. Our Champaign Police Department has been defaced and our Police Officers who work for our safety each day while putting themselves at risk have been disrespected in a hateful way. These actions are not a peaceful protest. This is hate speech leveled at our public servants and it is unacceptable. I call on our community and our police officers to peacefully and thoughtfully work together to make meaningful change. We cannot move forward as a community unless we learn to listen to one another, respect one another, and rebuild trust.”
The public is cautioned that incidents of vandalism and the defacing of public and private property is against the law and can result in the issuance of City citations or the arrest of those involved in this type of criminal activity.
In the interest of public safety, we continue to encourage any individuals or groups to coordinate with the City prior to planning public demonstrations. Organizers can contact the Champaign Police Department at [email protected].