The Champaign Police Department has been made aware of an internet video entitled “Champaign Police Officer Scraps with a Civilian until Backup Arrives”, which shows one of its police officers engaged in a physical altercation with a male subject.
In response to this video, the Champaign Police Department conducted a preliminary review of reports and witness statements, which all confirm that the officer was aggressively approached by a citizen while performing his police duties.
On April 6, 2014, at 9:16 PM, Champaign Police Officer Cully Schweska responded to the 1500 block of N. Prospect after being notified that a woman with an active Champaign County warrant may have been spotted in the Super Pantry store. When the woman exited the store, Officer Schweska attempted to detain her and verify the warrant. During this encounter, a male subject, later identified as Charles W. Grindley, intervened in the investigation and aggressively approached Officer Schweska. Grindley then continued to ignore the officer’s directives to not interfere with the investigation. Grindley approached Officer Schweska with both fists clenched and used profanity to inform him that he would not be allowed to take the female subject “anywhere.” Officer Schweska radioed for additional assistance as he engaged the threat that Grindley was posing. When Officer Schweska tried to prevent Grindley from interfering in the investigation, he resisted the officer’s efforts and swung a closed fist at him. Both became entangled in a physical altercation, part of which was captured on the internet video. During the altercation, Grindley continued to resist the officers even after OC spray was deployed. As Grindley was secured in handcuffs, he spat at and continued to yell obscenities at the officers.
Officer Schweska and Grindley sustained facial injuries during the altercation. Both were treated at Carle Hospital and released.
Grindley, 37, of Champaign, was arrested for Aggravated Battery, Resisting/Obstructing a Peace Officer and transported to the Champaign County Jail.
Ashley Johnson fled from the scene after being handcuffed at the store. She was later located in the 1500 block of Highland Avenue and arrested for Resisting/Obstructing a Peace officer. It was later confirmed that Johnson, 30, of Savoy, did not have an active warrant.
“It is never okay for a citizen to take matters into their own hands and fight with a police officer,” says Chief Cobb. “In these types of situations, it is better to let the officer complete the call and continue gathering information. This situation could have been avoided if both parties would have cooperated and allowed the officer to perform his duties. Fortunately, neither the officer nor the offender was seriously injured in this incident,” he added.