Redacted report offers little insight into altercation during campus protest
After multiple requests, the University of Illinois Police Department released a heavily redacted incident report detailing its investigation of an altercation between a graduate student and two conservative students during a protest on campus.
On Nov. 16, police responded to a "disorderly subject" call at the university, where Tariq Khan allegedly had charged the students, both members of Turning Point USA, after interpreting a comment as a threat against his children.
Khan allegedly tried to punch toward one student and grabbed the other’s phone, running away with it, according to news reports. Despite protesters' attempts to convince Khan to give the phone back to the student, he threw it to the ground and ran away.
Khan was already gone when police arrived, according to the UIPD report. Officer George Sandwick called Khan, who agreed to go to UIPD to tell his side of the story. The narrative provided by witnesses, victims or Khan spanning 10 of 19 pages are redacted in the report.
UIPD initially investigated assault, robbery and criminal damage to property charges against Khan, but the Champaign County Office of the State's Attorney only pursued a property damage charge for the broken cell phone, according to the report.
The Chambana Sun submitted a Freedom of Information Act request Nov. 27 for a police report filed regarding the incident. On Dec. 4, Executive Director and Chief Records Officer Thomas P. Hardy supplied a response denying the request, citing an exemption for ongoing investigations.
"According to the University of Illinois Police Department, this case is still under investigation and releasing these documents would interfere with the pending investigative proceedings," Hardy wrote.
The Sun submitted an identical request on Jan. 2 and received the redacted report on Tuesday.
In the response letter, Hardy noted portions were redacted under exemptions that protect private information, such as a person's address, and personal information, including victim and witness identifiers, as well as details that would "create a substantial likelihood that a person will be deprived of a fair trial or an impartial hearing."