DANVILLE, Ill., (WCIA) — One man in Danville feels unsafe driving on the roads, feeling scared whenever there’s a cop near him. Now, someone he’s known for 13 years is working to change that and bringing it forward to Danville City Council.
Lloyd Randle, a former Danville Alderman, wants a review of traffic stops throughout the city. His friend, Derek Cooper, has been pulled over nine times in five years.
Randle presented to City Council during the time for public comment on Tuesday night. Randle and Mayor Rickey Williams were fired up after the presentation.
Williams said he did not have the opportunity to investigate the traffic stops he was talking about. Randle tried to voice his opinion about it and was asked to sit down.
Cooper decided to talk after Randle. He said his 17-year-old son is now scared to drive alone, and only wants to drive when his mom is in the car.
Cooper is a 16-year decorated combat Army Ranger veteran and has PTSD. He said he’s scared whenever he sees a cop. His young son asked him “why?” when he’s been pulled over, and now, he wants to know too.
“Cooper has been pulled over for having a refresher hanging from his rearview mirror, he’s been pulled over for not having his lights on pulling out of a gas station,” Lloyd said.
Cooper and Randle both feel he’s being targeted in Danville because he’s Black and drives a Lexus.
“Let’s say that Mr. Cooper was stopped by a law enforcement agency and that it triggered an emotion,” Lloyd said. “It could cause him to react in a way that would be threatening to the officer, which could cause the officer to act in a way to protect himself.”
Randle said someone could get hurt, or in Cooper’s case, it could kill him.
Dr. Aaron Michelson, a psychologist with the VA Illiana Health Care System, said in a letter that PTSD can affect every area of functioning in a person.
“I think the purpose of the letter is to let everybody know that a person that suffers severe cases of PTSD is subject to emotions that they can’t control,” Lloyd said.
Randle presented that letter to Danville’s City Council and asked them for a six-year traffic stop review program with an independent firm.
“Make the city understand the need to look at traffic stops as it relates to African Americans in our city,” Lloyd added.
He looked into IDOT’s numbers about those traffic stops. In 2021, 61% of total traffic stops were African Americans. 37% white and 2.1% Hispanics or Latinos.
The Census shows 33.8% of Danville’s population is Black.
Mayor Rickey Williams said in a statement:
“The City of Danville takes complaints seriously and do everything we can to address our citizens’ concerns. However, regarding Derek Cooper, neither me, my office, nor Administrator Finch (who oversees the Human Relations Division) have been informed about any allegations prior to today, so we haven’t had the opportunity to investigate or assist.
Furthermore, as a former Alderman, Mr. Randle knows well the process for filing a police complaint. Neither Mr. Randle nor Mr. Cooper have contacted us about this matter. In fact, Mr. Randle went so far as to instruct our Deputy Clerk that he didn’t want the Mayor to know that he was coming to speak to the City Council about the matter. Moreover, he provided a packet of information about Mr. Cooper and the alleged incidents to the Alderpersons, but did not provide me or Administrator Finch with the same information. Additionally, neither he nor Mr. Cooper spoke with Chief Yates about the matter. If the true goal was to provide assistance and help someone whom he believed was being victimized, why exclude those who have some authority to investigate the matter?
In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that we work hard to assist our citizens in any way possible. However, we cannot help when individuals intentionally withhold pertinent information.”Mayor Rickey Williams