A couple of months ago, I wrote about a particularly-questionable officer-involved shooting in Champaign-Urbana.
Though there was no body camera footage, the Champaign Police Department did release the dash camera footage from Officer James Hobson, who shot unarmed suspect Dehari Banks after his foot slipped following a car chase in Champaign.
According to State’s Attorney Julia Reitz, there is no evidence that Officer Hobson committed a crime, and all discipline handed down must be internal, through the Police Department.
The dash cam footage and audio is terrifying, and without any public mention of entrance and exit wounds, it still seems as though Officer Hobson acted negligently at best, and over-aggressively at worst.
Watch the dash cam video here, via The News-Gazette.
Read State’s Attorney Reitz’s statement to the Champaign Police Department, and CPD’s press release below:
Champaign Police Provide Update into Officer-Involved Shooting Investigation
This news release comes as an update to the community regarding the June 11, 2017 shooting incident in which Champaign Police Officer James Hobson reported an accidental discharge of his duty weapon during apprehension of a fleeing subject. The single bullet discharge resulted in the subject, 22-year-old Dehari Banks, being struck in the shoulder and sustaining a non-life threatening gunshot wound.
The Champaign County Multi-Jurisdictional Investigative Team, led by the Illinois State Police, conducted the investigation into this incident and submitted those findings to the Champaign County State’s Attorney’s Office. Per written notification from State’s Attorney Julia Rietz, criminal charges will not be filed in regards to Officer Hobson’s actions.
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.
Following the shooting incident and per Department policy, Officer Hobson was placed on paid investigative leave. He returned to the Department on June 22, 2017 and was assigned to desk duty and firearms training, pending the completion of the Multi-Jurisdictional Team’s investigation and the State’s Attorney’s ruling. The SA’s decision and review of Officer Hobson’s firearms training will determine his return to patrol duties.
Included in next steps, the Champaign Police Department will conduct its own internal investigation into the incident. At the conclusion of the internal investigation, the Department’s Firearms Discharge Review Board will convene to address the factors of the incident, as outlined within Department Policy 1.5: Firearms Discharge Investigation and Review. Chief Anthony Cobb will then complete a final review to implement his findings and recommendations, including any potential discipline.
“Our Department takes use of force incidents very seriously, especially when someone has been injured by gunfire,” shared Chief Cobb. “We’ve already taken some proactive measures to review and implement individual training needs, as well as taken review of Department-wide firearms training. I’m confident that the Firearms Discharge Review Board will thoroughly examine the issues surrounding this incident and make further recommendation on employee performance.”
With the conclusion of Illinois State Police’s investigation review and the State’s Attorney’s ruling, Champaign Police is releasing the squad car video with audio recording, associated with the June 11 shooting.