Protesters rally, defending police department vandalism

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URBANA, Ill. (WCIA) — The same group that sprayed graffiti on the Champaign Police Department Thursday night held a protest in the University of Illinois’ campustown on Friday, and they’re defending what they did.  

The Champaign County Antiracist Coalition has been organizing protests for the past week.  

They’re demanding ten things of city leaders in both Champaign and Urbana. Those include defunding the police, community control over reviewing complaints, affordable housing for all people, no jail expansion, no police in schools, childcare and healthcare for all, ending ICE raids, and bias training for city officials. One of the organizers made the public health demands known to Governor Pritzker when he came to visit Urbana this past week.  

“I also asked that there is a full investigation into all homeless shelters in the state of Illinois to ensure that there is proper PPE, proper social distancing and proper sanitation,” said Drake Materre with Champaign County Antiracist Coalition. “Also canceling all rents and mortgages so that we will not have a high eviction process which will lead to a higher homeless population which then can aid in the pandemic.”  

As for the graffiti that was painted on the exterior of the Champaign Police Station on Thursday night, the group claimed it was all water-soluble material that was used. The city refuted that, saying the acts of vandalism included the use of non-water-soluble paint, glue, and other materials applied to the building and sidewalk, causing property damage.  

A spokesperson with the Champaign Police Department said plans to arrest anyone for the graffiti are ‘under review.’

Protesters said the chalk used to mark the ground around the Alma Mater during Friday’s event was water-soluble. The organizer said they do not support the racial terms that were marked on the Champaign Police Department, but they do stand behind the actions of marking, spraying and chalking the building to send their message.  

They plan to go to the upcoming city council meetings in Champaign and Urbana to voice their demands to city leaders.  

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