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Today’s must-read

Thursday, Feb 13, 2020

* Barb Ickes at the Dispatch-Argus

Stepping off a bus at an East Moline rest stop, the out-of-town college student had no idea what was about to hit him.

Jaylan Butler and his teammates from the Eastern Illinois University swim team were at the end of a long day. After competing in a conference championship swim meet in South Dakota, they spent the bulk of Feb. 24, 2019, traveling back to Charleston, Ill., in a rented coach with their school logo plastered on the sides. […]

“As I took the picture, there was a line of police officers … they came to a screeching stop in front of me,” Butler said. “At that moment, I only knew a couple things to do that my dad always told me.” […]

Two officers had Jaylan on the ground — his face pressed into the snow and an officer’s knee pressed into his back. One cop was pointing a rifle, Butler and [bus driver Todd Slingerland] said, and another had a gun pointed at the 19-year-old’s head.

“He said, ‘If you move, I’ll blow your (expletive) head off,’” Butler said.

Slingerland heard the same threat and shouted at the police that Jaylan was his passenger, and they were making a mistake. As he rushed back to the door of the bus and yelled for the coach, two more police vehicles arrived.

It gets worse, so go read the whole thing. The state police need to step up here.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

  1. - SilverStreak - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 9:48 am:

    The Rock Island County Sheriff is Gerry Bustos,spouse of Cong. Cheri Bustos. Both Sheriff Bustos and Cong. Bustos must immediately and publicly explain this remarkably troubling incident.

  2. - Just Observing - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 9:52 am:

    === The Rock Island County Sheriff is Gerry Bustos,spouse of Cong. Cheri Bustos. Both Sheriff Bustos and Cong. Bustos must immediately and publicly explain this remarkably troubling incident. ===

    Ummm… no… the Sheriff has a lot of explaining to do… his spouse does not. Stop trying to score political points off this young man’s tragic and horrifying experience.

  3. - Moe Berg - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 9:53 am:

    Honestly, there needs to be a legislative hearing about this. It’s that egregious.

    I hope the Black Caucus will advocate for it, and I hope lawmakers not in the Black Caucus will join them in doing so, as this kind of lawless behavior from law enforcement officers is a threat to all.

    Having just marked Lincoln’s birthday, the Land of Lincoln surely cannot continue to tolerate its black citizens being treated as second class.

    This young man suffered a great trauma. That cannot go unaddressed.

  4. - The Edge - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 9:53 am:

    Very troubling. It’s concerning what type of psychological exam is being administered (or isn’t?) to new hires. Geez.

  5. - Jocko - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 9:56 am:

    ==they thought the bus was being held hostage.==

    Apparently, training at the Rock Island County Sheriffs department consists of watching (and re-enacting) cop shows.

  6. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:04 am:

    ===the Sheriff has a lot of explaining to do… his spouse does not===

    While I agree that the sheriff’s spouse should not be held accountable for his department, this did happen in her district, so, yeah, she needs to speak up.

  7. - efudd - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:10 am:

    As a side note, the ISP just lowered their educational requirements to an Associate Degree.
    Sorry, you dumb down basic entrance requirements, more and more of these incidents are going to happen.

  8. - illinois_citizen - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:11 am:

    In my opinion these particular law enforcement officers should be forced to change careers.

  9. - Pacman - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:12 am:

    This is bad, I didn’t see anything in the article about any external or internal investigation, is anyone investigating? Would love to hear copy of radio traffic and read their reports.

  10. - Vote Quimby - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:21 am:


  11. - Pacman - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:21 am:

    efudd, this wasn’t ISP, it was county Deputies assisting ISP. A higher education is helpful, but what needs to be looked at is what is being taught and how it is taught in the academy and the various field training programs of each Department. I am not aware of any standards for field training programs.

  12. - DCC - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:22 am:

    In my opinion all of the officers involved should have to spend some time in jail for this. I think the dispatcher and anyone else who knew about this should be disciplined. The cover up should be just as criminal as the assault here. This has to stop. I have all the respect in the world for honorable law enforcement officers. The cowboy cops have to go. It’s past time.

  13. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:24 am:

    Is seems concerning that guns were drawn and yet no one in law enforcement seems to know anything at all about what happened. I suspect the FOIAs are now flying fast and furious at several law enforcement agencies right now.

  14. - DougChicago - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:28 am:

    The thin blue line is often populated by the keystone cops.

    Thank god the nit wits didn’t do any more harm.

  15. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:30 am:

    ===FOIAs are now flying fast and furious at several law enforcement agencies right now.===

    And I suspect a lot of denials citing sec7 are being written in response.

    There needs to be a larger penalty for what many areas are doing in attempting to deny valid FOIA requests.

  16. - The Dude Abides - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:32 am:

    It is really upsetting to read this story that incidents like this are still occurring. The officers involved should be fired.

  17. - efudd - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:39 am:

    I know it wasn’t ISP, hence the preface, as a side note.
    My point is the higher the educational requirements for people who carry lethal weapons as a course of their job, the more it weeds out the knuckleheads.

  18. - Langhorne - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 10:57 am:

    The story was covered on NBC nightly news last night.

    The behavior of the cops was unbelievably outrageous. Even if you accept their flimsy justification for the stop, once the driver and coach vouched for the young man, it should’ve been over without him ever being treated so harshly.

  19. - Wylie Coyote - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:05 am:

    Sounds like the sheriff has a bunch of Barney’s on the force…….

  20. - Pelonski - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:08 am:

    The world has become a lot more dangerous due to terrorism and mass shootings, so law enforcement has really amped up how it responds. It requires a special type of person and lots of training to identify the proper level of force to apply. It appears these officers applied way more force than necessary, and what is worse, they failed to stick around to acknowledge their mistake. I could cut them some slack for the over-aggressive response, but not the lack of accountability for their actions. Every law enforcement officer makes mistakes. The good ones realize it and do what they can to correct them.

  21. - Responsa - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:11 am:

    Welp, that publicity won’t help EIU’s outreach for quality minority student athletes.

    What a horrible ordeal for Jaylan and his team mates. With kids all having cellphones I’d imagine there are plenty of photos and texts available from that night to help nail the officers. I hope so.

  22. - Shevek - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:17 am:

    @Pelonski - You could cut them some slack? Must be nice to be living in your white world. There was absolutely no cause (neither common sense cause or legal probably cause) for the arrest, let alone slamming to the ground a kid who was already kneeling with his hands up, let alone telling him he was going to have his head blown off. Your “dangerous world” is a load of malarkey. This was blind racism plain and simple

  23. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    It’s bad eggs like these officers who create distrust of the police in the black community. And this event should create distrust amongst all of us. If I were a police officer I would want the badges of these guys stripped because they make good officers look bad. Based on their actions they have no business being in any position of authority.

  24. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:24 am:

    ==It appears==

    It appears? There’s no appears about it. The absolutely did not respond properly.

    ==I could cut them some slack for the over-aggressive response==

    Cut some slack, huh? You’re pretty forgiving of an incident where there is absolutely no question as to its abuse of police power.

  25. - SWIL_Voter - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:26 am:

    “Step up” and do what? Congratulate the officer? This is what police do. It’s what they’ve always done. Terrorizing black people is the name of the game

  26. - Pelonski - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:32 am:

    @Shevek - I didn’t realize you were there. I defer to your knowledge of both the situation and what motivated all the parties involved. I’ll go back to my champagne, caviar, and Bentley.

  27. - Morningstar - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:34 am:

    Responsa - how does this incident reflect specifically on EIU? Other than the fact that the student attends the university? The officers involved did not seem to think his university affiliation was relevant.

  28. - pool boy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:42 am:

    With the heavy response,maybe this was a case of spoofing, although the article doesn’t mention it. In any event, after the bus driver and coach intervened, how could they not apologize and let him go?

  29. - Pelonski - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:46 am:

    I guess I truly do live in a different world than most. I believe that people make mistakes and should be given some slack when they own up to them. I always forget, though, that message boards are not about trying to understand why things occur so that they can be corrected but are instead about the sanctimonious judgment of others.

  30. - Cent IL guy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:48 am:

    I wonder if they ever actually apprehend the correct subject? If not, they may turn themselves in after reading this. /s. I bet the “I’ll blow your (expletive) head off” guy has been waiting all week to say that. I bet he practices in the mirror.

  31. - GoPanthers - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:50 am:


  32. - OneMan - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:50 am:

    My guess is there is going to be, and appears to already be, some ‘they were not our guys’ who did this.–567807781.html?4234

    Sheriff Gerry Bustos of the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office released a statement to TV6, which reads:

    “On Monday, January 27th, 2020 the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office was served with a lawsuit filed on behalf of Jaylan Butler against East Moline Officer Staes, Hampton Officer Bush and Rock Island County Sheriff’s deputies Pena and Asquini alleging excessive force stemming from an incident on February 24, 2019.

    Prior to filing the litigation, the Rock Island County Sheriff’s Office was unaware that any incident or use of force had occurred. Upon receipt of the lawsuit, a preliminary fact filing was conducted, which determined that Deputies Pena and Asquini arrived after Mr. Butler had already been detained by officers from other agencies, having only brief interaction with Mr. Butler and other officers, leaving shortly thereafter to continue the manhunt for a fugitive in the area that was in process.

    At this time, I am confident that the allegations against Deputies Pena and Asquini are without merit.”

  33. - Motambe - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:32 pm:

    The police officers involved deserve discipline and maybe re-training. Those who created a cover-up should face criminal charges. Efforts at CYA are unacceptable.

  34. - Michelle Flaherty - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:34 pm:

    I would hope that Sheriff Bustos would be as concerned about the underlying event that his statement confirms happened as he is confident in his deputies innocence.

    And his officers knew an event involving a university sports team occurred but never notified anyone higher up?

    Sorry, I’ve only got more questions now.

  35. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:36 pm:

    The young man very likely came within seconds of being shot. Don’t be sanctimonious and defend behavior that is clearly over any reasonable line. If there was a valid explanation it would already be out. One bit of a resistance, and they very well may have killed him. It’s not ok, and shouldn’t be argued.

  36. - Demoralized - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:39 pm:

    ==I always forget, though, that message boards are not about trying to understand why things occur so that they can be corrected but are instead about the sanctimonious judgment of others.==

    Another victim heard from.

  37. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:47 pm:

    This is sickening.

    This isn’t on EIU, the student-athlete, who did nothing wrong.

    The sheriff and the congresswoman need to clarify; the sheriff as to how trained law enforcement act in such a manner, and the congresswoman needs to weigh in if her district is tolerant of such awful displays of law enforcement.

    That young man deserves better than the two things I asked, I’d like to see the state police come in and fully investigate, with the sheriff and the congresswoman in full throat agreement.

  38. - RIJ - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 12:56 pm:

    I’m a late middle aged white woman, hardly the type to have this inflicted upon, yet it adds to my own general distrust of law enforcement. I have no personal reason to distrust law enforcement, but far too many have hurt and killed people without accountability. Plus, I’m never going to trust someone who is trained to regularly lie to get information.

  39. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:08 pm:

    === I believe that people make mistakes and should be given some slack when they own up to them===


    Who owned up to a “mistake” that allegedly involved threatening an innocent person with blowing off his head?

  40. - Lincoln Lad - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:19 pm:

    I’m with you Rich… and agree with ow that this is sickening. Somebody needs to tell the story of what happened here. I don’t care who tells it - but that needs to come out. There needs to be an explanation.

  41. - Downstate Illinois - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:26 pm:

    The officers need to be fired and prosecuted. The sheriff needs to resign. Rich’s excerpt was bad enough. The original story is unbelievable.

  42. - anon2 - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 1:29 pm:

    Unlike many whites, the white teammates of Jaylan will never blame the victim when they hear about racial bias by police. That’s because they know this victim personally, and know he was completely innocent.

  43. - Da Big Bad Wolf - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    === My point is the higher the educational requirements for people who carry lethal weapons as a course of their job, the more it weeds out the knuckleheads.===
    I don’t agree higher education “weeds out knuckleheads” but there are psychological tests and background checks that should be used to weed out knuckleheads. And it sounds like these officers need better training.

  44. - Winderweezle - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:02 pm:

    None of this story makes sense. There has to be something in the background that we don’t know about yet. Something that has nothing to do with Jaylen Butler but put him in a terrible situation. (He is a victim and I am suggesting nothing else)

    A rifle? A forceful takedown at gunpoint in a rest area? Multiple officers in a rural area? This is a very forceful action reserved for high risk situations.

    Whatever happened that night, it sounds like it was handled very poorly. The cops should have explained themselves to both the student athlete and whoever was in charge on the bus- probably the head coach. He is directly responsible for the safety of his athletes. If I was coach I would demand an explanation. After that, the university should have demanded official answers the next business day. Am I to understand a student traveling to a university function was taken down at gunpoint by cops and the university athletic director and university president didn’t find out about it or didn’t find out why?

    And the cops- how could any agency not inform their bosses that they just mistakenly detained detained a student athlete on official travel with the team in front of a bus load of witnesses? That’s a pretty big deal.

    There is video surveillance of most rest areas. If this was reported in a timely fashion, there should have been video. It’s probably gone now.

    There has to be more to this story.

  45. - Nick Name - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 3:38 pm:

    “And everybody admitted that it was nobody’s fault.”

  46. - Thomas Paine - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 4:38 pm:

    “Meanwhile, far away in another part of town
    Rubin Carter and a couple of friends are driving around…”

    Rich knows the rest.

  47. - OpentoDiscusssion - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 4:48 pm:

    The city would be wise to request the Illinois State Police to conduct a full investigation of this matter.

  48. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 6:23 pm:

    Given the multiple jurisdictions, the length of time since the occurrence, the tangential involvement of ISP, and the potential for civil rights violations here, I would suggest the FBI take a look at this instead.

  49. - Johnny Tractor - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 8:34 pm:

    Huh - looks like maybe that Kapernick guy has a reason for that kneeling thing he did.

  50. - Lynn S. - Thursday, Feb 13, 20 @ 11:23 pm:

    I’m no lawyer, but I think an investigative team with FBI agents and staff from the Illinois Attorney General’s offer needs to start visiting folks in that neighborhood.

    And if I were the insurance company for the county, I’d tell the county that my settlement offer to Me. Butler and his teammates, coaches and bus driver was not just monetary, that at least 6 law enforcement officers would be immediately terminated from their employment and ineligible for future employment in any capacity with any law enforcement agency, at any level, for at least 50 years from the date the settlement was signed by Me. Butler.

  51. - Pacman - Friday, Feb 14, 20 @ 7:09 am:

    Higher ed for Police is great, but is not the end all be all. psych evals and background investigation weed some out, but again in my experienced opinion it is the culture of the Department that influence the way Officers/Deputies/Troopers act or don’t act. A closer look at field training at the Department level needs to be looked at and standards set.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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