Champaign Officer Rush Fired, Attorney Says He Will Challenge Termination
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCCU) —
Champaign police officer Matt Rush is out of a job.
On Wednesday, he was fired for a second time by the department.
His termination is effective immediately. Rush's attorney says he will once again challenge his firing.
Letters obtained by Fox Champaign say it was his conduct in an off-duty incident as well as a recent decision by the Champaign County state's attorney that lead to this decision.
One of the two termination letters says that in February Rush was highly intoxicated at Champaign's Fat City Bar and Grill, where he was showing his badge and had a visible weapon on him.
The letter also says he exposed his badge to bar employees while identifying himself as an officer.
Those actions are a violation of department policy.
Champaign Police Chief Anthony Cobb says this incident shows a pattern of poor judgment and poor decision making.
Community leaders who demanded his removal from the department back in December of 2015 say this news came as a surprise.
"I was certainly surprised to hear of the circumstances of why he was fired," explained North End Breakfast Club member Aaron Ammons.
Four lawsuits have been filed against the department, accusing Rush of excessive force in the line of duty.
Three settlements have already cost the city a combined total of $320,000.
The second termination letter focused on concerns by State's Attorney Julia Rietz.
Earlier this year she declined to file criminal charges against Rush, saying there was insufficient evidence against him.
However, in a February release she said that Officer Rush would no longer be considered a credible witness - an essential part of police work.
Chief Cobb says because of that decision there is no position available for him.
"Ultimately, I believe the community as a whole felt he was not an officer we wanted to patrol our streets," Ammons said.
We reached out to Rush's civil attorney and the fraternal order of police, both say they spoke with him Wednesday evening and he plans to appeal this latest firing.
This appeal will be another union arbitration, just like the one that enabled Rush to be reinstated after his first firing in 2014.
Both of Rush's representatives declined on-camera interviews.
Officer Rush has filed lawsuits of his own against his boss, Chief Cobb, and the leader of Champaign County NAACP Patricia Avery, claiming they conspired to have him fired.
Rush is seeking $50,000 in compensation from both Avery and Cobb for economic and psychological damages.
Those cases are still pending.