Corruption and Incompetence in Champaign County

My name is Christopher Hansen.  I am a UIUC College of Engineering graduate and 16 year resident of Urbana, IL.  I am writing this as an open letter to anyone who might find it concerning that a simple visit to downtown Champaign might turn into a multi-year long, depression-inducing nightmare.  This saga involves a corrupt, violent, and incompetent police force, a savage and malignant county jail, willfully negligent news agencies, and a downright malicious close friend of the past Mayor of Champaign.  This person concealed the truth, and her actions put a completely innocent person in jail, destroying his reputation.  The same public entities mentioned denied the fulfillment of FOIA requests, and an inattentive Attorney General upheld those denials.  Warnings about citizen oversight and the actions of those public bodies were ignored, and multiple preventable deaths followed thereafter.  To my knowledge, none of the problems raised in this story have been rectified in any way.

Covered in Shattered Glass

On August 22nd 2015 I was driving home from the downtown Champaign area when I was pulled over by Champaign Police next to the AM-KO parking lot at Springfield and 1st. I was driving normally and had not broken any traffic laws, so the stop was a mystery to me. This was not a leisurely traffic stop. Multiple unmarked cars lined up behind me and simultaneously turned on their emergency lights to pull me over. One of the cars pulled up onto the sidewalk/grass to my right, and two more cars showed up almost immediately after. Within one minute there were at least 9 vehicles with flashing lights on all sides of my stopped vehicle.

As soon as I stopped, I rolled my window down approximately 3 inches so I could talk to them and give them my ID, and I put my hands visibly on the steering wheel. The first officer that approached immediately started ordering me out of the car. This seemed rather abrupt and unusual, and I asked why I had been pulled over. The officer just repeated that I needed to get out of the car. I found this rather disconcerting, so I asked him to identify himself and again asked why I had been stopped. The officer would not identify himself or explain anything. This exchange was repeated a few times, and with each iteration, I became more fearful and suspicious that something very wrong was happening (why would police officers refuse to identify themselves?). As I became more terrified, they became more enraged. I pleaded for the men to bring in a supervisor. I tried to remain calm, but with that many armed men surrounding me, some with weapons drawn and pointed squarely at me, I did not feel very safe. At one point I was told to turn off my vehicle, which I immediately did, but just moving my hand off the steering wheel and down to the key made my heart skip a beat. Despite my pleading for an explanation, the men refused to identify themselves, tell me what they were doing, or explain why I had been stopped.

40 seconds after first approach, I asked again for a supervisor and the man who first approached belligerently shouted “I am the supervisor!” but he still wouldn’t actually identify himself. At the 50 second mark one of the men, with weapon pointed at me (I’m still sitting in my car with my hands on the wheel) said “I swear to God I’m gonna taze you”. I don’t know if I can fully articulate how terrifying it is to be surrounded by that many angry men itching to use deadly force, but it felt like a ‘somebody’s about to die’ situation, and that somebody was me.

Before I could make any sense of the situation, or determine how to deescalate the violent proclivities of the high-strung men surrounding me, the man who identified himself as supervisor grabbed the top of my window and rocked it back with his bodyweight. The window shattered, causing an explosion of glass shards to hit me in the face and cover my body. 64 seconds after approach, no one has told me why this is happening, no one has identified themselves, they haven’t identified me, and I’m covered in shattered glass, being pulled out of the car by four officers and pressed down onto the trunk while handcuffs are snapped onto my wrists.

At this point, I started repeatedly asking why I was being arrested and stating that I didn’t consent to any searches.  “We don’t care” and “You may think you know your rights, but you don’t” were two of the responses barked at me by the same man who shattered my window, who finally identified himself as Lt. James Clark.  Clark then told me I had been arrested for robbery.  “Robbery?!?”  I could see my confusion reflected in the eyes of the other officers as I exclaimed this. Before I was put into a squad car and made to watch them tussle through my vehicle, I asked for medical attention since flying glass had hit me in the face and it felt like I had been cut – I could also feel shards of glass in my shoe (and I wasn’t even aware of the glass shards in my waistband that were cutting into me).  I was then taken out of that car and told to stand on the sidewalk. Terribly confused, I looked around and noticed another squad car about 30ft away and could make out a woman in the passenger seat pointing and laughing at me.  “You’ve just been positively identified for stealing a purse,” I was told, before being put back into the squad car.  10 minutes later, I was Mirandized by Officer Kurt Buckley and when he asked if I understood I said “I can hear you,” to which Buckley said “I’ll take that as a no, so our conversation’s over.”   30 minutes after the initial stop, an ambulance arrived. The EMT only emptied the glass from my shoe but did not administer attention to the glass cuts.  12 minutes later, Officer Kurt Buckley transported me to the Champaign County Jail.

Champaign Police Officer, Lt. James Clark shatters the car window of Christopher Hansen 64 seconds after approach. During this time, the Champaign Police have not identified Hansen, refused to identify themselves, nor give any explanation for the stop.
15 Naked Hours in Solitary, No Medical Attention

At the jail, county correctional officers and Officer Kurt Buckley started questioning me and I repeatedly said I did not want to issue any statements without first speaking to a lawyer.  The correctional officers tried to convince me that nothing I said there could be used against me in court, even though Buckley (who was in the same room) had just told me the opposite during Miranda.  We had to go through multiple iterations of them trying to convince me that nothing I said could be used against me in court, and me saying I didn’t wish to issue a statement.  Buckley and the correctional officers began issuing threats about stripping me naked and leaving me in a cell for 3 days if I didn’t cooperate with their interrogation. I could feel something was terribly wrong, like they were trying to get me to say anything that would incriminate myself and justify their use of force, so I sternly repeated that I would not be issuing any statements.  The officers got very frustrated and, as I’ve learned from this experience, everyone gets a chance to issue their own brand of punishment, no due process required.  

In this case, since I didn’t want to answer any questions, they determined me to be a suicide risk, took me into a cell and four men forcibly stripped me completely naked on a concrete floor next to a puddle of someone else’s urine.  Already cut and bleeding in multiple places, my entire naked body including my genitals and face were pressed and scraped against the dried portion of the puddle of the urine that had streamed across the floor into the drain, with my face just inches from the wet part of the puddle. By “forcibly stripped”, I don’t mean I was fighting, I mean that when Correctional Officer Christians asked, “Are you going to strip naked for me?”, I looked puzzled and said, “Uhh no?”, then on Christian’s gesture, several men poured into the room and pinned me down.  I was left with a small straight-jacket type thing which was more functional as a small pad to keep me off the disgusting concrete floor than clothing, so I stayed naked the entire time.

I was made to wait in this disgusting jail cell with open cuts on my foot and waist (from my shattered car window) for over 15 hours. The officers, including Sergeant Arnold Mathews (who identified himself as the jail supervisor), unilaterally denied about 30 requests I made to see a doctor, starting from within a few minutes of me entering the intake room.  I asked to fill out a medical request form multiple times and was repeatedly told “No” by Arnold Mathews and other officers.  I had cuts on four parts of my body and was concerned about the unsanitary conditions.  I am also at risk for blood clotting (I had a deep vein thrombosis a few years ago) and am advised to take daily medication and avoid long periods of immobility and dehydration.  The jail intake room has posters on the walls indicating that every inmate has the right to be seen by a doctor.  I did squats and pushups to stay warm and keep my blood flowing while the guards laughed at me and referred to me as “the white guy.”  For the entirety of my stay, almost every correctional officer walked around with chewing tobacco packed into their cheeks, frequently returning to their strategically placed Mountain Dew cans to spit excess brown saliva (no, I am not caricaturing).  I made dozens of requests to make a phone call so I could let someone know where I was. Those requests were all denied as well.

At approximately the 8 hour mark, Nurse Lois (the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office refused to provide her full name) arrived to see prisoners.  Lois did not understand why I was being kept under suicide watch and asked one of the guards.  The guard responded that I had refused to answer questions.  I then told Lois that I had made dozens of requests to see a doctor and she turned to the guard to inquire why my requests were not fulfilled.  The guard told Lois that the requests “were only verbal.”  I could see from their exchange that Lois was subservient to the guards and afraid of them. When I complained to Lois that the guards pressed my naked body against the floor with urine on it, the guard argued that it must have been me that urinated on the floor.  I advised Lois of my risk of blood clotting and told her I should be taking medication.  She said she would look into it.  Hours later when I was able to speak to her again and ask about medication, she told me, “That’s not important right now.”

The Video Court Hearing

At approximately the 9 hour mark, the other prisoners and I were brought into a video courtroom where bond amounts were set. It was only then that I finally heard the story of what I had supposedly done. The state prosecutor claimed that I had snuck up on a woman at W Park Ave between Randolph and Neil St, grabbed her purse and struggled with her, then ran north on Neil St with the purse. The prosecutor claimed I matched the description of the perpetrator, and the victim positively identified me (this would be the woman in the squad car pointing and laughing at me).

As I discovered later from police reports and dash cam footage, Champaign Police Officer Katherine Thompson happened to already be at Neil and Main St (due to an unrelated incident) during the time of the robbery and subsequent 911 call. Thompson did not see any likely suspect heading north on Neil St, but after driving south of the robbery location, and about 5 minutes after the robbery, Thompson spotted me (a white male wearing jeans and a black t-shirt, the description given to METCAD). Thompson stood silently on the sidewalk while I walked past her. She made eye contact with me, but said nothing. Thompson then observed me as I walked across a parking lot to my car and drove out of the lot. Then Thompson called for the other officers to arrest me as the likely robber (hence the 9-car attack fleet of Champaign Police Officers that swooped down on me so quickly). To be clear: I was pulled over, my car window shattered, and I was arrested based solely on the fact that I was the first white male whom Officer Katherine Thompson spotted wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. All of this transpired before any police officer had even located or spoken to the victim. My bond was set for $10,000 and I was sent back to my latrine of a cell.

The Suicide Watch

At approximately the 11 hour mark, licensed professional counselor Daniel Applegate interviewed me and also didn’t understand why I was on suicide watch.  When the guard explained that I had refused to answer questions, it seemed clear that Applegate understood that I was simply being punished and nothing else. My impression was that Applegate understood this was typical jail officer behavior.  Applegate immediately cleared me, but the guards still delayed 2-3 hours past that before giving me underwear and an orange jumpsuit and moving me to a cell where I did not have to smell urine.  They were not at all busy during this time, and I had previously heard the guards telling other detainees that they intended to keep them in jail as long as possible as punishment, despite a judge having already set bond amounts for everyone.  Keep in mind, everyone in this portion of the jail is still innocent and hasn’t been proven guilty of anything.  In addition to frequently making fun of me while I was naked in the cell, I also overheard guards using racial slurs, and teasing and threatening other prisoners at various times. 

I then waited another 2-3 hours before I was finally able to make a phone call, post bond, and leave the jail.  I learned that I was only able to do this because there was a guard shift change.  The new guard confirmed to me that the previous shift probably just did not like me and were just letting me sit there to punish me.  He freely explained this tome in a way that made it sound like typical behavior by the jail guards.  Whereas I had originally planned to leave town that Saturday morning to help with a family crisis, I instead sat in jail for 17 hours, naked most of the time, and none of my friends, family, or neighbors knew where I was.  It was my close friend and business manager, worriedly searching for me, who finally figured it out and called the jail, then showed up in person.  It was only after she started asking questions that the jail staff altered their stated plan to hold me for several days, and allowed me to make a phone call. If I did not have an outside person inquiring, I would not be surprised if the guards were planning on leaving me there much longer, if only to entertain themselves.  I wonder, what happens to anyone who is jailed in Champaign County, and is not fortunate enough to have friends or family searching for them?

After I left the jail, I spent the next few hours paying impoundment and towing fees ($250 to the Champaign Police Department to release my vehicle, and$185 to Reynolds Towing Service) to retrieve my damaged car, eating, and surprisingly, sleeping.  One does not get much sleep naked on a concrete floor in a cold, brightly lit jail cell, with the unrelenting stench of urine in the air.

The First Day in Court

The next day was a Sunday, so the only lawyers I could call were friends, none of whom practice in the area.  My arraignment date was set for Monday afternoon, which was not enough time to choose a criminal defender, and the early advice I received was that I probably did not absolutely need a lawyer just for the arraignment, so I went without one.  At the arraignment I was given a financial affidavit to apply for a public defender. I figured I probably would not qualify but I filled it out anyway.  When Judge John R Kennedy called me up to the Judge’s bench, I asked questions about delaying arraignment until I could hire a lawyer.  He said I could have a week and when I asked if I could have two weeks, he became very angry, started yelling at me, and told me to go sit back down in the public seating area.  After everyone else in the court had been processed he called me back up, and in a truly frightening flip of character, was exceedingly polite, and allowed me to ask my questions.  I asked if I could use the public defender for the arraignment and then hire my own lawyer.  To my surprise, he said I could, and assigned a public defender to my case.  In the two weeks that followed, I also met with at least 10 private criminal defenders, where I was quoted prices in the $4,000 to $8,000 range to handle only the pretrial portion of the criminal trial, then a multiple of that fee to handle a full trial.  Besides the cost, I was also unimpressed with most of those options, so I ended up staying with the public defender.

From the arraignment, I also finally learned the identity of my accuser: Jennifer L Ryan, 47 year old executive chef, divorced mother of one college-age daughter, long-time Urbana resident and property owner. Naturally, as a chef, Ryan is Facebook friends with many restaurant and business owners in the area.  Ryan also appears to be close friends with past Mayor of the City of Champaign, Don Gerard.  To the best of my knowledge, I have never met or even crossed paths with Jennifer Ryan.

About Me

After having a close friend proof read this letter, her greatest concern was that anyone who does not know me might quickly decide that I am one of those disaster-prone types who is always getting into trouble.  So, for anyone reading this who does not know me, here is a start:

During my teenage years I split most of my free time between Boy Scouts, orchestra (viola), and my own independent engineering projects.  At 17, I earned my Eagle Scout rank and had started an online business designing and selling small electronics for robotics and radio control.  I came to Urbana to study Electrical Engineering at UIUC, during which time I grew my small business out of my dorm room.  By my junior/senior years, in addition to running my business, I was simultaneously working as a teaching assistant for two different engineering courses (positions otherwise filled only by graduate students), designing and building electronics for yet a third professor’s startup company, and working for the Army Corps of Engineers where I designed and built environmental sensors and then wrote patents for those designs.  In my senior year of undergrad, when I designed and built what was probably the first autonomous aircraft at UIUC, I was also independently designing a number of different high-efficiency power converters. I thought the power converters were cool, so I showed them to my professors.  This led to me being recognized with an award and giving a speech for the Grainger Foundation, something normally reserved for PhD research students.  As I finished my bachelor’s degree, I received several offers from professors for continuing in academia.  However, school was never the right place for me and by the time I graduated, my business was growing quickly and I preferred to focus on that.  Pretty happy here, I bought a house in West Urbana when I was 22 and have lived here ever since.  I continue to grow the electronics business I started in high school and, despite having started two additional businesses as well, I still find time to pursue my various interests.  I especially like to restore antique furniture and think of ways to bring modern efficiency and functionality to historic homes while keeping the original historic features intact.  My favorite post-college (independent) studies have included religion, evolution, economics, praxeology, and philosophy particular to morality.  That means I can offer a biological basis for morality, and construct an objectivist argument against theft (but in practice, I may steal food off your plate at dinner).

83 Security Cameras, A Dozen Witnesses, and a GPS

As in almost every other task in life, I figured if you want something done right, you had better do it yourself.  As the judge read the maximum sentence at my arraignment as 7 years in prison, it hit me that this is one of those situations where you don’t just kick back and let things run their course.  Immediately after I got out of jail, I worked on this disaster every waking hour for weeks.  I also completely re-tasked two of my full-time employees and had some close friends helping as well.  Within 72 hours of my release from jail, my crew and I had accomplished the following:

  • I identified and contacted numerous people who could confirm my whereabouts before, during, and after the alleged robbery.  Some were able to find and send me images of texts, credit card receipts, etc. with timestamps.  Several people could confirm my whereabouts with exact times and many more could with various degrees of certainty to the time.
  • I downloaded my cell phone location data from Google which showed that I was at the Blind Pig during the time of the robbery and was never, at any time, at the site of the alleged robbery.
  • We documented 83 different security cameras in downtown Champaign that could have shown my whereabouts or shown the actual robber/robbery, and we made efforts to contact each of those business owners.  This effort put, in my hands, video and/or still shots from 25 different cameras that confirmed my whereabouts for about 90 minutes before the robbery, during the robbery, and after.
  • The data we gathered provided a seamless, non-conflicting, frequently triply-redundant alibi for two hours that crescendos at the precise time of the robbery with me in plain view of 3 different cameras simultaneously, 1 witness who remembered me in great detail (the bartender distinctly remembered me because I tipped her a dollar for a glass of water), cell phone location data, and the sending of a text message with my cell phone (which can be seen on video). 

Having all of this evidence in hand made me feel more confident about going forward with the public defender instead of shelling out thousands for a private attorney. In hindsight, this was probably a very bad decision.

I also learned that for the evidence to be considered sound, it would have to be regathered in the proper legal way, and not through my hands.  However, when I called First Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones multiple times to alert her of all of this evidence, I was told to sit tight for a couple of weeks because the discovery process would be done by the prosecution and they would send it to us when they were done.  What!? 

I conveyed the urgency of collecting the video evidence to the Public Defender’s Office, but instead of acquiring the evidence that proved my innocence before it was erased and written over by new footage, I was seen as a nuisance and even reprimanded by First Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones for asking for attention to the matter.  Miller-Jones also scolded me for not issuing a statement to police, insisting that if I had just explained myself to the police, I would not have been arrested that night.  Miller-Jones needed reminding that it was the police who refused to identify themselves or offer any basis/reason for the altercation.  I asked the police many times what was happening and they refused to say—how could one explain themselves under such circumstances?  I could not find any other criminal defender who thought that trying to stage an on-the-spot legal defense with the police would have been a good idea.

Justice on Vacation

One would think this story would come to an abrupt end given all of the physical evidence in hand.  Furthermore, the police never found the purse nor anything illegal on my person or in my car. One might also wonder why an engineer who can make more money staying at home writing computer code would bother stealing purses.  However, none of this matters at all when the prosecutor assigned to your case, Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew P Banach, is on vacation for 2 weeks and cannot be bothered to review any of the evidence.  On the contrary, the idea of going to jail for the better part of a decade gave me a different level of motivation and I continued gathering evidence (just in case the legal system doesn’t work as it should):

  • Severely Intoxicated Accuser:  Several witnesses confirm that my accuser, Jennifer L Ryan, was terribly intoxicated that night.  Professor Zuofu Cheng, a close friend of Ryan who was with her most of that night says “Jen was really drunk.”  Owner of Quality Bar, Aaron Van Natta, and manager Terry Boyer (who placed the 911 call for Ryan after she stumbled into the bar from the parking lot nearby) confirm that Ryan was walking around erratically, “babbling about losing her dad’s credit card,” according to Van Natta.  Boyer indicates that Ryan had “wandered off before police arrived and they had to go searching for her”.  Then Boyer described Ryan as “completely wasted,” “teetering back and forth as she spoke to the cops like she was about to fall over”.  Professor Cheng indicates that Ryan has claimed to have been robbed at least 3 times before and said that he felt like Ryan had made up such stories in the past.  According to Professor Cheng, he spoke with Ryan the day after the alleged robbery and based on his understanding of the events, even told her “she got the wrong guy.”
  • Absurd Identification of Suspect:  We are able to review the dash cam footage from the numerous police vehicles. Most striking is the offensive and inappropriate dialogue between Jennifer Ryan and Officer Katherine A Thompson wherein they’re both giggling like children, laughing at me and talking about “kicking him in the nuts.” During the “show-up” identification, a very intoxicated Jennifer Ryan positively identifies me after only catching a glimpse of the side of my head for a fraction of a second, 30ft away, at night, through a windshield and without her glasses (which she told police were stolen with the purse). Shortly after, Ryan was so impaired that Officer Nathanael Epling would not let her drive herself home. When Epling asked her how he could contact her that night, Ryan kept repeating that he could call or text her, but she could not explain how that would be possible given that her phone was stolen.
Champaign Police Officer Katherine Thompson uses Jennifer Ryan Stundins’ positive identification as evidence to jail an innocent man. Jennifer Ryan Stundins identifies the man with 100% certainty even before he is fully visible. Officer Thompson is fully aware that Jennifer Ryan is terribly intoxicated during the ID.
  • No Robber: The Public Defender’s Office is able to obtain video from several more cameras that I documented, but from which I could not convince the business owners to give me video without a subpoena. Multiple cameras around the Busey Bank Executive Building at W Park Ave and N Neil St, and outside of V Picasso Restaurant, show the path that Ryan claims the robber ran. These cameras show fields of view of the area immediately adjacent to the location of the alleged robbery, which supposedly happened in the parking lot immediately west of the Busey Bank Executive Building. Investigator Steve Guess examined the video at the Public Defender’s Office in September of 2015. Investigator Guess’s study of the video footage shows not me running away with Ryan’s purse, it shows no plausible suspect running or walking with a purse. An almost non-stop trickle of people, couples, and small groups walk through the area immediately adjacent to, and within clear view of, where the robbery allegedly happened, and apparently no one noticed a violent struggle just yards away. As I watched the videos with Investigator Steve Guess at the Public Defender’s office, I was speechless: it seemed like the robbery never even happened.

Still, none of this evidence can make the charges against me go away because Assistant State’s Attorney Matthew Banach is still on vacation.  So I wait, in dread.

All for Naught

Finally, a response from prosecutor Matthew Banach:

  • Investigators (Champaign Police) are sent to review all of the video evidence showing that I could not have possibly committed the robbery because I was at the Blind Pig the entire time.  Unfortunately for me, the Champaign Police Officers find that the video is no longer on any of the security systems because they waited so long that it has now been overwritten. 
  • First Assistant Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones informs me that the nearest expert having the qualifications needed to testify about my cell phone location data is 3 states away, and it would be far too expensive and complicated to bring him in, so we cannot use that evidence.

So I wait, in extreme dread, for a trial.  On the bright side, the piece of car window glass that had been imbedded in my foot for weeks finally came out.

What Robbery?

Nearly two months from the day of my arrest have passed and I am still doing research, making phone calls every day, trying to see if any stones have been left unturned.  I can’t visit friends and family because I am prohibited from leaving the state.  My car door and window are wrapped in plastic from the shattered window.  At this point I had also spent a good deal of my time explaining myself to numerous friends and neighbors who read false and defamatory articles about me online and in the newspaper. 

As the reader may have supposed, I am not writing this letter from a prison cell.  Here is how the the charges were finally dismissed:  My tenacious investigation efforts bring in a valuable bit of intel.  One of my engineering students from 13 years ago (when I was a teaching assistant at UIUC) who still lives in town, tells me he heard through the grapevine that Jennifer Ryan recovered her supposedly stolen belongings.  After further investigation, I learn from the owner of Mike & Molly’s bar that Ryan left her cell phone there the night of the robbery and returned later that weekend to collect it.  It took weeks of urging before the Champaign Police finally agreed to investigate Ryan’s recovery of her belongings.  According to the investigating officer, Katherine Thompson, the night of my arrest Jennifer Ryan left Mike & Molly’s bar then entered Quality Bar where she claimed she was robbed of her purse, cell phone, driver’s license and her father’s credit card, while alone in the Busey Bank parking lot (and shortly thereafter ‘identified’ me as her attacker).  Then, 36 hours later, Jennifer Ryan returned to Mike & Molly’s bar where she collected the cell phone she’d left there and told people in the bar that

“she had been robbed in broad daylight while she was with four of her friends.  She then stated that she was now going to different bars collecting her items because they were ‘strewn throughout the city.’ _____Ryan seemed out of it as if the robbery had just happened ___ and was also rambling on and on.  [Ryan] had the purse that she was robbed of when she entered the bar to get her phone.”

I had been accused, positively identified, jailed, and indicted for a crime that seems to have been entirely fictional.  Whereas I spent my weekend in jail, recovering and patching up my smashed car, and bandaging up glass cuts, Jennifer Ryan was gathering the belongings she lost at bars during her intoxication marathon.  Ryan kept this secret, and let me spend a torturous day in jail and the next 2 months meeting with lawyers, gathering evidence, attending court dates, explaining myself to everyone around me, and entering into a spiraling depression which, to this day, only continues to worsen.  This circus was instigated by the Champaign Police Department and the Champaign County State’s Attorney, without ever having a single shred of physical evidence. 

A visit to Jennifer Ryan’s publicly viewable Facebook page shows she was traveling on vacations, visiting hotels, restaurants, and resorts starting just days after my arrest.  This ordeal seems to have been just a regular night out for Ryan. Ryan posted about the robbery on her Facebook page, fetching replies from over one hundred of her friends, most of whom praised Ryan for her bravery and expressed concern for her well-being. The thread includes my full name, and Ryan’s friends are not shy about expressing their interest to hurt and kill me. In the same Facebook thread, and on the same day she collected her missing belongings as described above, Ryan claimed that she “got nothing back”after the robbery.  It seems Ryan has no qualms about lying to her own friends.

Perhaps even more disturbing was the curious responses from some of the businesses possessing security camera footage from the night of the alleged robbery.  There were three different businesses that failed to provide video to Steve Guess, the lead investigator at the Public Defender’s Office.  One business flat-out refused to communicate.  The next business first assured Investigator Guess that the footage would be saved, but 2 weeks later claimed to have lost all of their security footage after deciding to replace their recording system. Curiously, 3 days after claiming to have lost all of their video footage, the facility manager (whom I was pleading with personally), was able to privately send me several still shots from their video system, writing only, “Here is what I am able to give you.” The cameras at the third business likely would have shown Jennifer Ryan leaving her purse and/or contents at one of the bars she visited, showing without question that she could not have possibly been robbed of those possessions later.  This business also assured Investigator Guess that everything was saved. However, when the technician sent to retrieve that video tried to download it from the storage system, he found that the video from that night (and only that night) had been overwritten with video from a different night.  The technician was dumbfounded and Steve Guess even used the phrase “foul play”.  The businesses that failed to provide video in 3 unique ways are all owned by the same developer, who happens to be a Facebook friend of Jennifer Ryan. 

The Treachery of Jennifer L Ryan

During the 2 month criminal trial process, I was sternly advised not to publicly post anything or speak to anyone about the case, even if it would help prove my innocence.  After the charges were dropped, over 3 years ago, I started writing this letter, and began uploading every file, video, and audio recording that I had from my own investigative work and FOIA requests.  Shortly after I began uploading information which would publicly clear my name, my accuser Jennifer L Ryan, decided that the evidence put her in a bad light, and accused me of “cyberbullying”.  Ryan even had her attorney, Michael B McClellan, send a letter of intent to sue me if I posted anything about the case online.  My lawyer (a private attorney that I hired after the criminal case) advised me that the cyberbullying laws in Illinois are so draconian that even posting verifiably true things online could get a person into serious trouble.  The law in Illinois actually indicates that a person is committing a class 4 felony (minimum one year in prison) if they were to make any “electronic communication” that so much as caused “emotional distress” to another person.  Jennifer Ryan was fiendishly threatening to put me back in jail, just to stop me from clearing my name, and spare herself from public embarrassment.  With little other recourse, I removed the online content, scrapped this letter, and tried to proceed through the justice system.                 

In the months and years following the incident, on the advice of my lawyer, I contacted the Champaign Police Department numerous times asking them to charge Jennifer Ryan (now “Jennifer Ryan Stundins”) with filing a false police report.  My lawyer fully reviewed all of the evidence and was convinced without a doubt that Ryan had committed a crime and should be criminally charged and convicted.

Champaign Police Detective Bradley J Krauel was assigned to the case after the charges against me were dismissed.  The extent to which Krauel was willing to investigate any further was to interview Jennifer Ryan.  Written in Krauel’s report are details from his recorded interview with Ryan exactly 3 months after she claimed to have been robbed.  In this interview, Krauel asked Ryan about her stolen items including her driver’s license and Ryan said that she never recovered her license and had to get a new one.  However, when Krauel asked to see Ryan’s driver’s license, Ryan produced a license with an issuance date of 6/15/2015, more than 2 months before the alleged robbery. Krauel caught Ryan in a blatant lie. In the interview, Ryan also could not clearly remember other basic details about that night or said things that conflicted with her previous statements.  For example, Ryan changed her description of the robber’s clothing from “jeans” to “baggy cut off skater shorts.”   Whereas Ryan initially told the 911 dispatcher that her attacker simply had brown hair and no distinct facial features, she told Krauel that he had “a weird spike hair cut with the side shaved.”  According to Krauel’s report, when asked about her level of intoxication, Ryan said “she had a lot to drink” at Quality Bar at the time of her 911 call and that “while she was standing with the officers, people kept buying her drinks”.

In other words, Jennifer Ryan entered Quality Bar drunk (according to multiple witnesses), then proceeded to consume multiple servings of alcohol in the presence of Champaign Police Officers, including Officer Katherine Thompson. Officer Thompson then drove a terribly drunk Jennifer Ryan to the location of my arrest so Ryan could positively identify me.  When Krauel asked Ryan about her having retrieved all of her supposedly stolen items back from the locations of her bar-crawl, Ryan became defensive and Krauel would not proceed with further questioning.  Despite my urging, Krauel inexplicably told me that there is no way that they would charge Ryan with filing a false police report.  Krauel refused to review the video footage collected by Steve Guess that shows no plausible suspect fleeing with a purse. Krauel certainly did not want to hear anything about or look into why some businesses failed to produce security footage. Krauel didn’t seem to care about the bogus online media postings made by the Champaign Police Department listing my full name and depicting me as a criminal, and would not do anything to help get those removed.  Krauel seemed to be indicating to me that his hands were tied and urged me relinquish my efforts with Champaign Police, but encouraged me to sue Jennifer Ryan in civil court. 

It was only after my criminal charges were dropped that I finally received a copy of Jennifer Ryan’s 911 call and analyzed it alongside the dash cam footage from Officer Thompson. Ryan tells the dispatcher that the robber is a 5’10” male wearing jeans and a black t-shirt. When the dispatcher asks about the robber’s race, Ryan first says “Afri…” then she changes it to “white”. When Officer Thompson first arrives at Quality Bar, she tells some bystanders that she is looking for someone “that matches the description of about half the people here.” Less than 3 minutes later, Thompson repeats this to other officers over the radio when calling for my arrest, “I don’t know if that’s him or not, but it matches the description of a lot of males around here.” At this point, no police officer has yet located or even spoken to Jennifer Ryan. When Officer Thompson does locate Ryan (4 minutes after the 911 call), Ryan’s description of the robber’s height changes from 5’10” to 5’7” (my height: 6’2”). Thompson begins asking Ryan basic questions about the robbery; several blocks away, Lt. James Clark shatters my car window, and finds no purse. After conferring over the radio, Thompson casually says, “That’s probably not the guy then.” Ryan lies to officers multiple times about her whereabouts before the robbery, and in every variation, Ryan fails to tell the truth that she went from V Picasso to Mike & Molly’s (where she collects her “stolen” phone, 36 hours later). Later, when Ryan and Officer Thompson are walking through downtown Champaign, searching for Ryan’s purse, Thompson seems both amused and confused that Ryan is not concerned with trying to find the purse. As Ryan gets easily distracted, Thompson laughs “I’d probably look for that missing Italian purse!” Then Thompson gives Ryan a “high five” for being so brave and tells her “I’m glad that you did what you did.”

In her report, Thompson writes that she attempted to stop me from leaving the area, stating that she “shined [her] flashlight directly at the driver” as she “attempt[ed] to catch up to him.” However, video from the parking lot shows that Thompson is never within 130 feet of my vehicle, and does not appear to have a flashlight in her hand. Thompson can be seen walking at a normal pace through the parking lot after my vehicle leaves, and does not make any attempt to signal a stop. Thompson made no mention of attempting to stop me over the radio or to any of the other officers, and only seems to think of it after Ryan identifies me.

With some persistence on my part, in May of 2016 Detective Krauel finally requested copies of my video alibi from Investigator Steve Guess at the Public Defender’s Office, but Krauel didn’t know how to play the video files.  Later that month, with the assistance of another detective, Krauel finally reviewed the overwhelmingly sound video alibis and concluded it was impossible that I could have committed the supposed robbery.  However, as I continued to encourage Detective Krauel to further investigate Jennifer Ryan for filing a false police report, it became more and more apparent that something was rotten inside the Champaign Police Department, making justice impossible. 

It is not clear to me if Jennifer Ryan may have been using her connections with Don Gerard, the past Mayor of Champaign.  Before and after the incident, Ryan and Gerard spent most of their weekends together, traveling to nearby cities and attending various events (and posting Facebook photos of themselves all the while).  Gerard has been taken to court at least twice for misusing his authority as mayor.  In one case, Mayor Gerard threatened to use the City of Champaign Attorney Frederick Stavins to intimidate and criminally prosecute his ex-girlfriend, even threatening to charge her with robbery when she moved out of his home.  In another case, musician Jim Bean filed an order of protection against Mayor Gerard, indicating that Gerard physically assaulted him.  Mayor Gerard also purportedly said that he was going to have Jim Bean put in jail and that Bean would be “f**ked in the a** in prison by big black dudes.” Judge Clemmons concluded that Mayor Gerard could have “anger control issues”.

Perhaps Ryan was using her connections through her father, a retired police officer.  Since it was already clear that Ryan had no qualms about lying (even to her own friends) and covering up evidence, conspiring to use her connections with people of power seemed just as likely.  What was painfully clear was that the Champaign Police officers involved in this incident did not have any interest in investigating Jennifer Ryan, and that did not make any sense at all.  Why would the Champaign Police Department arrest, jail, charge, and indict me based on no evidence whatsoever, but refuse to even investigate the obvious deceit of Jennifer Ryan, wherein a myriad damning evidence already existed?

SoI decided to go a different route: I walked into the Champaign Police Department and found a rookie officer who had just recently joined the department.  In July of 2018, Officer Caleb Rice sat down with me and two friends of mine who are familiar with the evidence, and we discussed the incident point by point.  We discussed the original police reports and Krauel’s unwillingness to perform a real investigation and refusal to review all of the additional evidence.  I even made a list of the existing evidence against Jennifer Ryan and gave it to Officer Rice, which he said was really helpful. Rice couldn’t understand why a proper investigation into Jennifer Ryan’s crimes hadn’t been performed.  “None of this is making sense to me”, said Officer Rice during the interview.  Rice enthusiastically assured me that he would personally be looking into this and I would be getting a phone call back that night. 

I finally felt a little glimmer of hope, but I received no phone call that night, nor the next day, or week.  I called the Champaign Police Department numerous times over a period of 2 months asking for Officer Rice.  I frequently left messages for him, but he would not accept my calls or even try to call me back.  Rice was not on vacation or otherwise preoccupied, as confirmed by the administrators who handle phone calls for the department.  Officer Rice went from highly enthusiastic to completely silent. For me, this confirmed my suspicion that the Champaign Police Department is corrupt, and that Jennifer Ryan, in addition to lying and covering up evidence privately, was likely using her connections to shield herself from investigation.

The only useful thing that has come of my numerous calls to the Champaign Police Department was that after a year of repeatedly asking, I finally got back the shirt, shoes, and pants that were taken from me the night of my arrest. Shortly after Officer Krauel’s lackadaisical investigation into Jennifer Ryan, Ryan left the state. This made any rectification, perhaps a civil lawsuit and/or appealing to a different arm of the justice system to get her prosecuted, even more complicated.

The Treachery of the News-Gazette

The Champaign Police Department was quick to use this incident to bolster their public image – just moments after my arrest (before anyone had even written a police report, it would seem), the Champaign Police were bragging on their Facebook and Twitter pages how quick, successful and brave they were at crime-solving.  The heroic Lt. James Clark (who refused to identify himself, then shattered my car window) wrote a Facebook post immediately after my arrest describing the feats of the Champaign Police, and including my full name and age. 

What was more devastating was the article in the News-Gazette wherein writer Mary Schenk partnered with Champaign Police Sgt. Bruce Ramseyer to write a narrative contradicted by evidence and police reports. Bruce Ramseyer was not on scene nor did he ever interact with me, nor my accuser, nor handle any part of the investigation (Ramseyer wasn’t even on shift that night).  It is not clear why Schenk found it appropriate to use Ramseyer as her only source of information.  Schenk mixes up which bar Ryan was at and who placed the 911 call. Schenk indicates that officers spotted me in the direction that the attacker ran, but they actually found me in the exact opposite direction.  Schenk gets confused about the timeline, as it doesn’t take 14 minutes to drive 6 blocks.  Schenk claims Ryan’s keys were stolen, but Ryan drove her Jeep to Quality after the robbery.  Schenk claims I refused to roll down my window and come out, but it was rolled down partially to talk to police and I never refused to come out, I only asked questions as I feared for my safety. Schenk indicates that I refused to cooperate with officers at the jail whereas the jail intake room video confirms that I was courteous, and I simply said that I did not want to issue any statements as per my rights.  Schenk indicates that I was intoxicated.  In fact, 7 officers submitted police reports and none of them described erratic driving or drunk behavior and none of them said they personally believed I was intoxicated.  Officers neither inquired about alcohol consumption nor administered a breathalyzer test.  Unfortunate for me, I suppose, since it would have undoubtedly read zero and redeemed me further.                  

My ‘crime’ won me a giant header in the News-Gazette spanning across the entire page. For some reason more serious crimes, as well as the drowning death of a 4 year old girl, were only entered as short blurbs.  Mary Schenk posted my full name, address, and mugshot on the News-Gazette website, where it remains to this day.

I have had to explain myself to numerous friends and neighbors who read and believed the News-Gazette article.  Even family members questioned me, imagining from the tone of the article and the charges that I must have at least jokingly grabbed someone’s purse and then gotten into an actual tumble with the police. One close neighbor to whom I have spoken almost daily for over a decade was ‘thoughtful’ enough to offer to help me with my ‘drinking problem’ – he had read the News-Gazette article and concluded that it was so unthinkable that I would ever legitimately rob someone that the only plausible explanation was that I must have been drunk out of my mind.

I contacted both the News-Gazette and WCIA as both of those entities thought it sensible to post ludicrous stories about me, including photos of my face, my full name, and my address.  I sent letters to them multiple times indicating that the evidence finds me completely innocent and that their stories were factually wrong.  Neither the News-Gazette nor WCIA would respond to my letters.  At time of writing, searching “Christopher Hansen Urbana” on Google still brings up the News-Gazette article as the first search result, and the WCIA article as the fourth result.

This ordeal has cost me countless thousands of dollars, many hundreds of hours, and unquantifiable stress and anxiety.  I essentially stopped working for 2 months straight, and after 3 years, have barely begun to emotionally heal myself. My businesses operate almost entirely online and the News-Gazette and WCIA articles still persist and no doubt affect me in ways I do not even know about.  I have had to nearly cease using my own name in the course of my usual business for fear that customers and clients might Google me.  I have had dates cancelled because they found the News-Gazette article and the Champaign Police social media posts about me online. 3 years after acknowledging my innocence, the Champaign Police Department still has their Facebook and Twitter posts online, listing my complete name and indicating my likely guilt.

Warnings Unheeded – Tragic Avoidable Deaths at the Champaign County Jail

Concerning my jail experience, I met and spoke with about a dozen criminal attorneys in town, and probably another half dozen non-criminal or out of state criminal attorneys (friends of mine) about this.  Most of the attorneys in town agree that the mock suicide-watch and accompanying gang-rape style pinning and stripping is frequently used by correctional officers and police to punish people they don’t like and/or to circumvent their rights by intimidating/torturing them into making incriminating statements.  They also acknowledged that requests for medical attention are summarily denied, and this is regular practice at Champaign County Jail.  Curiously, some of the criminal attorneys were some what apologetic for the jail guards—“they’re just trying to do their jobs” says one attorney.  My general impression is that most criminal attorneys don’t care much for their own clients.  In addition to speaking to many attorneys, I also met with Belden Fields, a UIUC Political Science Professor who studies human rights and was very involved with the Matt Rush fiasco (wherein Champaign Police Officer Matt Rush was found to have been involved in multiple instances of violence against citizens).  Fields also acknowledged that various tactics for threatening and torturing arrestees are in common practice and what happened to me is fairly typical treatment.   Furthermore, the threat of keeping someone in jail for inordinate periods of time and stripping them naked for refusing to answer questions is a clear violation of one’s Miranda rights. 

The Champaign County Sheriff’s Office refused to fill most of my FOIA requests for security footage within the jail.  Most notably, they refused to release footage of the gang-rape style stripping on the urine soaked floor, and they refused to release any audio at all.  The audio would have shown my repeated requests for medical attention and repeated requests to make phone calls.  Interestingly, Nancy Griffin, the FOIA Officer at the jail, claimed that no audio existed.  When I pointed out to her that there are signs within the intake room indicating that audio recording is in progress, Griffin claimed “the signage is in error”. After the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office refused to fill my FOIA requests, I appealed the decision to the Office of the Illinois Attorney General.  They declined my appeal, to which I responded with detailed letters warning about the conditions of the jail and lack of any oversight. Those letters were ignored.  

A few months after my experience at the Champaign County Jail, another inmate, Toya Frazier, was given a similar treatment of solitary confinement, and when she made medical requests they were also denied by the same jail supervisor that declined my requests, Officer Arnold Mathews.  According to her attorney, Shayla Maatuka, Frazier “cried out in pain, screaming and crying in her cell because of intense abdominal pain.”  She pleaded for help and Officer Mathews responded by asking her to stop moaning and groaning, as it was waking the other inmates, and ordered that Frazier be moved to solitary confinement. Toya Frazier died in that cell, and there have since been additional inmate deaths due to medical neglect. This is the same jail wherein correctional officers were found to be torturing inmates by putting hoods on them and tasering them.

The Lawsuit

No doubt, most of you reading this are wondering if lawsuits against the Champaign Police, Champaign County Sheriff’s Office, and/or Jennifer Ryan Stundins are in the works.  I spoke with numerous attorneys about possible lawsuits.  The consensus is that I would likely lose against the police, mostly because you just do not win lawsuits against the police in Illinois. When I asked attorneys if suing the police would at least cause them to change their practices, I was laughed at. I was further informed that suing the police in a case like this may cost around $30,000.  Multiple attorneys also warned me that I could be the victim of blowback from the Champaign Police Department.  Perhaps most problematic, it seems there are not any attorneys in Champaign County who are willing to sue the Police under any circumstances. Sure enough, my research efforts found that pretty much all recent lawsuits against the Champaign Police have been handled by out-of-town attorneys.

I did eventually get connected with Shneur Nathan, an attorney from the Chicago-based Hale Law firm, who had handled multiple Malicious Prosecution and False Arrest cases against the Champaign Police. Unfortunately, just as we started to get the process moving, Nathan inexplicably excused himself from representing me just weeks before the statute of limitations for suing a public entity or the employees thereof (one year, in Illinois) expired. It turns out that Shneur Nathan was in the middle of some kind of conspiracy to funnel clients away from Hale Law Firm, and it seems I was one of those clients, and I might have been too inquisitive about how exactly he would be handling my case. Shortly thereafter, Hale Law Firm initiated a lawsuit against Shneur Nathan for his underhanded practices and theft of clients. It seems one cannot even begin to fight corruption in Illinois without tripping over other instances of corruption.

I quickly found another attorney, Dane Amundson at Meyer Capel in Champaign, who was enthusiastic about representing me.  However, Amundson, like pretty much all attorneys in town, was unwilling take part in a lawsuit against the Champaign Police, indicating that the police department represented a significant portion of the Meyer Capel clientele, and other attorneys within Meyer Capel would object to such a lawsuit.  Unable to include the Champaign Police and/or Champaign County Jail in a lawsuit, and out of time,  my only option was to sue just Jennifer Ryan for Malicious Prosecution and False Arrest.  Dane Amundson was highly enthusiastic and confident about the case but after filing the complaint and defending against Ryan’s motion to dismiss (a cost to me of about $6,000 to Meyer Capel law firm), Amundson suddenly became unresponsive – the once quick response rate turned into months of lingering.  When I pressed Amundson to move forward with the next steps, he surprisingly discouraged me from proceeding further with the lawsuit.  Despite repeated written attempts to fetch an explanation from Amundson for his bizarre flip-flop, none has been given.  Long after filing the lawsuit, I came to find that Dane Amundson’s wife is Facebook friends with Jennifer Ryan Stundins. While this made me rather uncomfortable, there does not exist any evidence that this is the reason that Amundson became disinterested in the lawsuit.

Ruminations

In my particular case at least 35 different public workers (police, correctional officers, jail medical staff, judges and public attorneys) had to be complicit in this insanity.  If at any time, anyone of them had asked themselves “Why exactly am I hurting this person?” and stood up to their peers, it could have simply stopped.  Nurse Lois or Counselor Daniel Applegate could have reported on the jail conditions. On video, Officers Christopher M Chambers, Jon M Tatum, and Nathanael M Epling all discussed between themselves how crazy Lt. James Clark was for breaking my window, then expressed complete disbelief that the robbery could have occurred the way Jennifer Ryan described it.  None of these officers took any action, or wrote anything in their reports about this.  From the Illinois Attorney General to the various investigators involved– there is a long list of people that chose to keep their mouths shut in order to protect their own jobs and make their own lives simpler.

I realize some readers may ask why I did not open my car door more quickly when Champaign Police Officers first approached.  It is possible that doing so would have saved me the cost of a broken window and some glass cuts, but given the temperament and issuance of threats by the officers on scene, my feeling at the time was that exiting the vehicle was likely to bring me significant bodily harm.  With weapons out and pointed at me, I wanted a supervisor on scene to deescalate the situation.  The officers were, from my perspective, reckless and dangerous.  They seemed to act not like responsible adults, but more like violent and destructive children—Officer Chambers even joked with the operator from Reynolds Towing Service about how breaking my window “just makes the job more fun.”  More to the point, whenever and however I exited my car, the string of events that followed would not have changed.  The Champaign Police would have used a drunk witness to indict me for Class 2 Felony Robbery, and Jennifer Ryan would have done everything in her power to conceal her lies.  Even if Ryan did not identify me, Champaign Police were still planning to take me to jail and tow my car for resisting arrest—in the dash cam footage, Officer Justin M Prosser and another officer can be heard discussing this plan before Jennifer Ryan even arrived on scene for the identification process.  In other words, Champaign Police were prepared to put me in jail and charge me for the crime of resisting arrest, even though the entire altercation was a result of their own incompetence and belligerence. Immediately after my arrest, Officer Chambers tells Officer Tatum “I thought this was just going to be somebody just playing a joke on somebody else,” and Tatum replies, “I thought for sure, my god, there’s no way this guy is involved.”  Right after that, when Champaign Police did not find a purse in my car, it sounds as though the officers are formulating other reasons to have pulled me over, but then the voice audio of the officers suddenly cuts out for the next five minutes of that dash cam video.  Of course, none of the officers listed their doubts in their police reports. To me it seems rather clear: Champaign Police Officers are prepared to formulate stories, omit evidence, and perjure themselves to whatever extent they deem fit.  The idea that these are the individuals that the public trusts to keep law and order just makes me feel sick.

Regarding classifications of felony robbery, it may interest the reader to know that had the Champaign Police found any kind of weapon on my person or in my car, I would have no doubt been charged with Armed Robbery, a Class X Felony which adds 15 years to any sentence.  It just so happens that I have a Leatherman multi-tool (with folding knives) that I received as a gift 17 years ago when I earned my Eagle Scout rank.  It is so useful I carry it on my belt almost all the time. I feel so lucky that I was not carrying it with me that night.  The more severe Armed Robbery charges by the Champaign Police would have made it very difficult or even impossible to bond out of jail and perform all of the necessary investigating that eventually proved my innocence.

If I did not have easy access to the cash to bond out of jail and/or the resources and tenacity to gather up all of the evidence like I did, every bit of that evidence would have been erased.  Neither the Champaign Police nor the Public Defender’s Office were going to go looking for it on their own.  It took a lot of careful tugging at just the right strings to find out that Jennifer Ryan had retrieved her purse and other items.   Performing that investigative work myself was the only way that information was going to be sifted out.  In other words, if it were not me, but a poorer, less-connected person, there is no question in my mind that they would have been sitting in jail for months, enduring a criminal trial with Jennifer Ryan having no choice but to perpetuate her own lies, and the Champaign Police having no choice but to validate their reckless behavior.  And if that suspect was a minority claiming innocence against a 47 year old white woman with connections, I am told by numerous criminal defenders, he could have easily been found guilty. 

Based on a search of her social media accounts, Jennifer Ryan claims to have been robbed at least 5 times before my incident, including other incidents of having her purse and phone stolen.  After my incident, Jennifer Ryan claimed to have been robbed again in December 2016, and just recently again in July 2018 and each time I have to wonder, who did Ryan attack this time?  Including my own incident, this would make at least 8 times Ryan has claimed to have been robbed in the past few years alone.  It seems people like Ryan, as well as the public servants she sends scrambling, can operate with complete impunity.  I wonder, how many innocent people are in jail right now as a result of Ryan’s utterances and the unscrupulous actions of the police?  In the police dash cam video, Ryan even makes mention of other robberies from her college days (which would have been 30 years ago).  I would not be surprised if there were dozens more incidents involving Ryan between now and then.  Ryan even writes on Facebook, “I don’t bring purses anywhere anymore, because they are always stolen” and “My car will always get broken into no matter what neighborhood I am in.”  In reference to her many robberies Ryan writes, “I cannot tell you how many times this has happened.”  Ryan has also claimed to have been a victim of cyber hacking numerous times, and indicates that she bought a new Taser because of her frequent altercations.  Either Ryan is a statistical anomaly, or her powers of invention apply to more incidents than just mine.  Curiously, Ryan also seems to have a racial bone to pick –regarding my incident she writes, “For the record, crazy white guy, just like every crazy white guy that has ever attacked me, crazy WHITE DUDE!”  As I finalized this letter, I revisited the dash cam videos of Jennifer Ryan and Officer Katherine Thompson giggling and swearing in the police cruiser, and felt an intense fear when Officer Thompson told Ryan that she “did a really good job” and then suggested Ryan should start carrying a gun.

The Letter

Even 3 years after the incident, I take medication to sleep at night and I seem to have permanently lost the ability to fall asleep naturally (such as a mid-day nap), no matter how sleepy I feel.  This ordeal enters my mind many times a day, every day.  There does not seem to be any possibility for justice and I do not see any path for emotional closure.  I wonder what I did to deserve all of this,and then I remember that this kind of treatment is given to more unfortunate people every day.  I wonder what it is that I am supposed to be doing to fix things, and I wonder if fewer people might have died if I had tried harder to warn officials about conditions at the jail. 

I’m exhausted, and I have no idea where I am supposed to turn next, or whom to trust.  I was warned by attorneys about defamation lawsuits and blowback from any or all of the law enforcement agencies in Champaign County for writing a letter like this.  I was even warned about the real possibility of being charged criminally under the insane Illinois cyber-bullying law (720ILCS 5/12-7.5) which would put a person in prison just for communicating something that might make someone uncomfortable.  Luckily, that absurd law was recently found unconstitutional by the Illinois Supreme Court, but it is still technically on the books, and I would not be surprised if Jennifer Ryan and the Champaign Police Department used it against me. Still, I am tired of cowering and I see no other choice but to simply layout my story publicly and ready myself for the blowback.

Everything I have written here is backed up by video and audio files, testimony, police reports, and further physical evidence.  Anyone who desires these files is welcome to contact me, and/or you can try your luck at getting the various entities to fill FOIA requests. I will also be uploading relevant files on CorruptCU’s Media Archive, and hosting them here permanently (unless Jennifer Ryan and/or the Champaign Police Department manage to shut me down).  The videos linked in this letter are also available in the Media Archive in case Ryan and/or the Champaign Police manage to have my YouTube videos removed.  I’ve combed through this letter many, many times, and fact-checked everything.  If I do find that I have made any errors, I will update my article also post this information on this website.

As for what I hope to achieve with this letter:  First, I would like to clear my own name, as I am growing quite tired of playing what I have come to call the“last-name game”, wherein I try to conceal my last name for as long as possible when meeting new people.  Next, I would like to make people aware of how our local justice system actually operates.  My interest here is not to suggest any specific ‘fixes’ (though some things should be obvious).  One theme that I think is extremely clear is that there is a complete lack of personal responsibility within both the public and private entities mentioned.  I do think some explanation is owed, at least by the various public officials and entities involved.  Therefore, I am making the following inquisitions:


To the City of Champaign Mayor, City Council, & Police Department:

I would like to understand why Champaign Police Department officers refuse to identify themselves and explain what is happening when they stop a person. Persisting to refuse to identify themselves when asked, issuing threats of bodily harm, and refusing to bring in a supervisor all seem like actions intended only to intimidate and terrify citizens. Is this typical police protocol and what could possibly be the purpose of this?

I would like to know why your officers are threatening arrestees with violence, including sexually violent acts like being forcibly stripped naked if they elect their right to silence and don’t agree to answer questions.  Isn’t this a violation of Miranda rights?

Why would your officers threaten violence against a citizen sitting in their car, then smash their car window and arrest them for, essentially, wearing jeans and a black t-shirt?  Why are the officers not performing even a modicum of investigation to determine if a crime did or did not happen?  After my arrest, Champaign Police Officers did not attempt to gather one bit of physical evidence or find other eyewitnesses – they didn’t even try to collect video footage from the vast array of security cameras in the area. Given how doubtful the officers seemed (some saying clearly on audio recordings that they didn’t believe I robbed Ryan), is it possible they didn’t do any investigative work because they already knew the robbery was an invention? 

Does the Champaign Police Department find it suitable to use obviously substance-impaired witnesses to “positively identify” suspects? Officer Katherine Thompson testified in court to the validity of the “positive identification”. I was indicted solely on Thompson’s recitation of the identification process that she administered. However, Thompson did not find it suitable to mention in court that it was dark and the witness was drunk and without her glasses during the identification. Thompson also did not find it suitable to mention that she herself did not believe I was the right person. Thompson did find it suitable to bolster her report with fabrications about how suspicious I appeared that night. Would we not classify all of the above as blatant perjury by a police officer?

Officer Thompson expresses doubt multiple times throughout the night that Christopher Hansen was the man that allegedly robbed Jennifer Ryan Stundins.

I invite any of the Champaign Police Officers involved to publicly explain their participation in what had nothing at all to do with service and protection, but was functionally closer to a kidnapping and sexual assault.  I would like to know how your actions align with your oath and code of ethics.  At a minimum, I am speaking to Nathanael M Epling, Katherine A Thompson, Jon M Tatum, Justin M Prosser, James Clark, Kurt Buckley, Christopher M Chambers, Bradley J Krauel, and Caleb Rice.

On August 22nd 2015, Champaign, IL Police Officers Katherine A Thompson and Nathanael M Epling conduct a felony robbery investigation. This video is a condensed version of the dash cam footage, and shows how the officers interact with Jennifer Ryan Stundins.

Does it appear as though this investigation was conducted in a thorough, precise, and professional manner, given that it may have resulted in a man going to prison for 7 years?

Why does the Champaign Police Department refuse to further investigate Jennifer Ryan’s false report of the robbery? Ryan seems to have some kind of blanket of protection from further investigation.  I would like to know to what extent Ryan was able to cover up her crimes using her connections with the mayor, the police, and the businesses that failed to produce evidence.

Why does the Champaign Police Department post the names of the innocent people they’ve arrested on their social media accounts? I would like to know what kind of relationship the Champaign Police Department has with Mary Schenk at the News-Gazette.  Schenk seems to be posting false information that does not even align with actual police reports. Why are officers like Bruce Ramseyer giving out inaccurate information and quotes to reporters in regards to cases with which they’re not remotely involved?  I have searched through every FOIA request submitted to the Champaign Police Department in the last 5 years,and I cannot find any record of Mary Schenk ever submitting a FOIA request for anything.  I find this unusual given that Schenk reports on crime every day.  Is it true that Schenk writes all of her crime stories without any primary sources,or does she somehow get special access to these documents?

How does the City of Champaign plan to reconcile the story I’ve told here with their Mission and Values, namely “We take responsibility for the outcome of our actions and decisions” and “We hold ourselves and others accountable”? 

I would like to know how the City of Champaign expects me to repair my reputation and remedy the damages that the City has inflicted.  This is not a rhetorical inquiry, I quite seriously do not know what to do, and since it was the City of Champaign that originated this mess, it is your responsibility to take action.  What actions, if any, will the Champaign Police Department take after contemplating my letter?  Responsible men and women, people who have integrity, would admit their error and attempt to rectify it, not cover it up.

To the Champaign County Officials, and Sheriff’s Office:

I would like to know how the story I have given here holds up against your stated values of “transparency” and“ethical behavior” and your stated mission to “Manage safe and secure detention facilities.”

Why are detainees in the Champaign County Jail punished and/or threatened with disgusting and humiliating acts?  Why would a prisoner not be allowed to make a phone call to at least notify family/friends where they are?

Why are your jail staff unilaterally declining medical requests? Why are medical personnel like Nurse Lois or Daniel Applegate failing to provide medical care to detainees and failing to speak out even when aware of improper treatment?

Why is your office refusing to fill all FOIA requests for video and audio within the jail?  Is it the position of the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office that the jail should operate without oversight?  I have reviewed the Illinois State Police reports about the deaths that have occurred in the Champaign County Jail over the past few years, and the accounts given by the Jail Officers and the State Police Officers do not align with the accounts given by inmates who witnessed the events.  I believe there is a strong impetus for the jail staff to be excused from wrongdoing and the State Police Department is complicit.  I do not believe there can be any accountability without citizen oversight.  People are dying, and past Sheriff Dan Walsh is currently being sued for “failing to develop and implement policies and procedures to monitor and discipline jail employees to prevent illegal and unconstitutional behavior by the employees against inmates.”  Operating surreptitiously is not working, and especially now that we have a new Sheriff in town, Dustin Heuerman, I would like to know what he plans to do about this.

To the Champaign County State’s Attorney, and the Champaign County Public Defender’s Office:

Part of the reason my criminal case became such a travesty is that the assigned prosecutor, Matthew P Banach, was on vacation during the time when the discovery process should have been underway.  I would like an explanation for this catastrophe, and an explanation for why the State’s Attorney did not drop the criminal charges after I presented multiple infallible alibis.  Is this the fault of your office, or that of Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones, or both?

I would like to know why the Champaign County State’s Attorney ignored my FOIA request dated November 9, 2018.  The FOIA law requires you to respond.

To date, Public Defender Janie Miller-Jones has refused to give me a copy of my own criminal case file.  This seems like a clear constitutional violation, and no other criminal attorney in Champaign County follows this bizarre practice.  Janie Miller-Jones also claimed that she was not subject to my FOIA requests for my own case files, claiming that it would violate attorney-client confidentiality.  I still do not have possession of some of the discovery files that helped prove my innocence, and soon they will be destroyed.  I find this unacceptable, and now I am asking publicly for an answer to my plea.

I would like an answer from the State’s Attorney on the practices of the Champaign Police and the Sheriff’s Office.  I have made several well-founded accusations of corrupt behavior within these institutions and, for the benefit of the public, they should be taken seriously, and they should be investigated.  I would also like to know what the State’s Attorney plans to do about Jennifer Ryan Stundins.  Should Ryan be investigated, or does the State’s Attorney not concern themselves with falsely reported crimes and destruction of evidence?

To the Illinois Attorney General (both incoming and outgoing):

The Illinois Attorney General sides with the Champaign County Sheriff’s Office when they have denied FOIA requests, essentially allowing jails in Illinois to operate without citizen oversight.  I would like to know why my reports of officer misconduct, mistreatment of detainees, and withholding of medical treatment in the Champaign County Jail were not investigated.   Had someone paid attention to my warnings, or even just allowed me gather, through FOIA, what I am legally entitled to, history could be very different.  I wonder, would the Illinois Attorney General have had the means to prevent the deaths that occurred at the jail in the months that followed my complaint? 

I would like to know what our new Attorney General, Kwame Raoul, plans to do about the systemic FOIA failure both within our public institutions and within the Office of the Public Access Counselor within the Attorney General itself. Even the Champaign County State’s Attorney will not comply with the FOIA law.  In addition to my FOIA efforts described earlier in this letter, I have appended a description of my efforts from the past couple months, which was also rife with examples of corruption.

To the News-Gazette & WCIA:

You should be ashamed of yourselves.  The public looks to news organizations to expose the ill behavior of institutions.  Instead, you are just peddling cheap click-bait and refusing to shoulder the responsibility that comes with your reporting.

Why do you post names and addresses of innocent people in your news reports and social media accounts? Why have you not responded to my requests to remove your libelous articles that have damaged, and still are damaging, my reputation?  

Specifically to the News-Gazette, what exactly is being accomplished with Mary Schenk’s inaccurate, careless reporting and libelous social media posts?  Mary Schenk seems to report exclusively on crime. Why is there almost never a follow-up story after the News-Gazette posts their click-bait style mugshot articles?

I would also like an explanation from WCIA about Maggie Hockenberry’s factually incorrect story.  Where does Hockenberry get her source material and why do you not do follow-up stories on your crime reporting?


While preparing this letter over the past few months, I made a number of FOIA requests, most of which were denied.  A documentation of the requests made and their responses can be found here

Click to enlarge

This letter is being sent to all of the entities and persons listed here.  You are welcome to forward this letter to whom ever you wish, and you are encouraged to contact any of the people in the list if you think it worthwhile.



Thank you for taking the time to read this rather long letter.  I do not consider myself a skilled writer, and this letter took me an inordinate amount of time to complete.  I appreciate you taking time to read it.  You are encouraged to forward it to whomever you wish.  You are also welcome to contact me with questions and comments, or to obtain original source materials: corruptcu@gmail.com  You may also view updates and post comments on this website.

Christopher Hansen, Urbana IL

200 thoughts on “”

  1. I am sharing your story. Change needs to come now. Their are far too many students in Champaign at the same risk of illegal police action that you were in. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. This story seems eerily similar to what happened to my younger sister in Champaign Il- down to the crooked public defender Janie, slanderous News-Gazette articles by Mary Schenk and the overall handling of evidence pertaining to the case. This is terrible!

  3. Good lord, you sound like a 1st class asshat. I tried to read your tale of woe, but the denseness of what all you were trying to say, coupled with the blah, blah, blah of the overall nugget of a story was enough to force me to run and hide under my bed. Who knows if your complaint is valid, your inability to put together a succinct sentence in order to give the reader a sense of what you are trying to say has rendered your gripe impotent. If you have issues with the NG , with the police or with the SA office then take it to them. Creating a whole webpage to bitch about something this insignificant is so 1st world! Try volunteering someplace where you would really be needed, it will get your mind off of your petty problems. I have ideas for you if you are still too totally focused on your problems- whatever they are.

    1. Clearly you didn’t read his article. He did take the problem to them multiple times. If you can’t take the time to read the whole article don’t judge his situation, because YOU are the bitch in this situation because his problems aren’t petty and what happened to him was awful.

    2. What a sad, stupid idiot you are. I would not be surprised to learn your name is Jennifer and you were drunk whilst posting this..

    3. I call troll. No point in even rebutting this shit. Enjoy your very short attention span of a life, Malek. And God help you if you yourself should ever fall into police custody.

    4. This commenter is a cop…or a cop’s spouse….or a friend of a cop…or someone who clearly didn’t read more than 2 paragraphs.

      How does it feel everyday being so ignorant and apologizing for Pigs? Does your tongue get chapped from all the bootlicking you do? Do you like being told what to do and think? You must…or you’re a cop. I smell bacon…

    5. Try to imagine yourself in a similar situation. Let’s say someone accuses you of being intelligent but you are prohibited from using your reply above as proof that you are a complete moron. You know you are an idiot, your friends and family know you are an idiot yet people that don’t know you assume that you’re reasonably normal. That, my friend, is the frustration he is feeling.

    6. I don’t think his writing is the problem. You seem to lack the ability to read. He said that he tried to take this story to them publicly and for shutdown for Cyber bullying and he tried to take the case to a rookie officer and never got a call back.

    7. You seem like an absolute idiot. If you actually read the letter, you would understand why it is structured the way it is.

      Instead.. you take the time to insult someone for sharing their story of abuse. Not a good look, you fuck.

    8. Did you not read the entire letter? He’s saying that he has approached so many people about this, trying to get some sort of resolution, whether it’s police officers, lawyers, and even general public. He has solid proof, he’s literally giving out his contact info so you can ask for and access said proof, and you are criticizing him about his ability to formulate sentences? Are you kidding? You try being harrassed by police and having every sort of hope somehow mysteriously disappear, and then come back and talk. It may be happening in a 1st world country, but if this shit builds everywhere, not just IL, where the fuck do you think we could end up as a country? How the fuck is there ever going to be any sort of law and order? Think of others outside of yourself, and if you don’t give a fuck because you don’t feel like it’s affecting you or you don’t like his fucking sentence structure, then just shut the fuck up. By saying all that, you are the one being a little bitch, not him.

    9. Malek you are are sadly mistaken. I found the account not only readable but astoundingly clear based in the horror this individual was put through and believe it. No one should have to endure such treatment. You yourself sound like a bitter person who hads no grasp of how the justice system functions when it in reality fails more often than not. One thing is clear the fake narrative that it always blacks that receive such treatment has had a big hole busted in it. Sounds like politics is a major part of the problem and I would bet my life much of it is Democrat crap. I myself know a former student of mine that was railroaded on a child sexual abuse charge from accusers known to have falsely accused people before by an up and coming politically ambitious prosecutor. I also live in a city that abhors transparency and will waste taxpayers money to avoid FOI requests , so this type of coverup appears to be common

  4. Being a victim of the Urbana Police Department myself. I applaud you for coming out with your story despite the risks. I have spend years considering whether I want to write my own letter to the department, but after reading this I guess it was good that I did not even bother to waste my time. At the time as well, when I gave my lawyer the name of the arresting officer, the lawyer was resigned and stated that it was definitely not the first, nor would it be the last, time that he heard about this particular officer abusing his authority and able to get away with it. This officer I was told went on the train the new incoming officers and that terrifies me even more.
    This PD’s corruption, lack of proper training, and care is absolute appalling. I sincerely hope that you shining a light on the disgusting practice of this supposed justice institution turns into them being scrutinized under a more influential microscope.

    1. I also have been a victim of the Champaign and Urbana police department corruption and lying and overall criminal behaviour. I wrote a paper on the decline of moral and ethical policing in Illinois while i was at the U of I. The judicial system has made a mockery of itself and the “justice” it is supposed to represent. Im soo glad you posted this! Of course im so terribly sorry for all you went through.

  5. Sad to say. I know so many people, that are either dealing with, or have dealt with these things. Unfortunately more so people of color.
    This is happening from county jail, all the way into the prison system. Everything is so underhanded, that we as people, say its wrong. Furthermore saying, “there is nothing we can do about it”.
    Even being hard to even obtain lawyers, to help with the process.
    Sorry this happened to you. I am deeply saddened that this happens at all. Everyone always have something to say, until it happens to them, or someone close, leaving them with curiosity.
    You aren’t the first, & you want be the last.

    1. I read this entire letter and it infuriated me! I would like to see a public response from every person listed here. Also, I would expect that the News Gazette and WCIA remove or update their posts to reflect the current status of the accusations. I’m sorry you had to go through this. Please keep pushing for change for the better. You have done so much already. Great job overcoming so many obstacles to prove your innocence.

  6. Seriously write a book about this. I personally believe everything you’ve written. I’d love the first copy of the book if you write it. Craig

  7. I am so sorry this has happened to you and I hope you are able to get some change in all the pathetic systems. It is terrifying to read and know this is happening right here, right now.

  8. Chris, I am very sorry that this happened to you. From reading your letter you appear to be a very intelligent man. What this entire city needs is accountability. Maybe if someone like you, or maybe even you could run for an elected office in our town to try to rectify some of these wrong practices. Think about it. You might just be able to save some other poor soul from this type of treatment.

  9. I am so proud of you! Mary Schenk is an incompetent fool, who did the same thing to my nephew, who only reported his “not guilty” in the “newspaper” after I emailed her editor .
    Champaign seems to be a corrupt city, where “who you know” is more important than the truth. Perhaps when UICC realizes that one reason their attendance is declining perhaps due to this corruption, they will swing their big hammer and drain this swamp!

  10. The police and county officials should all be put on leave and the matter investigated thoroughly. Perhaps when all this and other cases are done they can spend some time behind bars.

  11. A possible and sometimes successful remedy is to file a claim directly against something called “law enforcement liability insurance’ all public officials are bonded and insured. It’s been a success tactic against Chicago police for brutality cases. Who has the bond? Who covers the liability? Discover that and you’ll have serious leverage.

  12. I thought things had changed. They are worse. Write the book to feel better or try to find peace and sleep. In any case I wish for you healing and peace. You are the better person.

  13. Mary Schenk and the News Gazette pulled the same unethical and no-class stunt on me as well. Schenk allowed someone to accuse me, in the paper, of filming him urinating in a bathroom — something that was well beyond even what had been in the already questionable police report — without giving me a chance to reply. That’s called fairness, and it is one of the ethical pillars of journalism. This was printed before the State’s Attorney had even had the opportunity to look at the arrest and determine if it had any merit at all. And, it did not. All the charges against me were dropped immediately, however, it was 2 hours after the News Gazette had already distributed its false and slanderous story. By the time I got home from my night in jail, my email was filled with disgusting comments from people accusing me of being a pedophile and worse. Although I was found completely innocent, Schenk and the News Gazette had already branded me a criminal and a sex offender.
    The News Gazette is a despicable, unethical, no class institution without any redeeming values. I’d be happy to get together with anyone else who has been subjected to similar behavior and see what we can do in response.

  14. I went to her Facebook and the threads you mentioned aren’t there. I hope you got screenshots. I’m sorry all of this happened to you.

  15. I’m sorry this happened to you. If you ever decide to write a book on the subject of champaign county and people who have been arrested here, please feel free to contact me. I’ve been there a number of times, and in that same isolation cell. I know there are so many other people that could add validation to your claim. I want to believe it could be better, but deep down I honestly know short of a total shut down, that system in this county will never change.

  16. This needs to be sent, with an appropriate cover letter or message, to persons and organizations considering moving to and who have moved to CU.
    Several easy sources of such exist
    1) Often candidates for high level public sector or university jobs are announced in local newspaper.
    2) National companies which are considering opening offices here
    3) Companies which already have opened offices here. (eg Google, Yahoo, Amazon)
    4) New university faculty and physicians at Carle and other medical facilities.
    5) Potential football and basketball recruits (This would seem particularly effective, their names often being in the newspaper.)
    6) Organizations that are considering having or that regularly have tournaments (such as high school sport championships), workshops or conventions locally

    Although probably expensive, ads could be run in periodicals and newsletters that local institutions use to recruit people to come to the CU community

  17. Christopher Hansen (from Joe Bonilla *mentioned in the article*),
    Your story is compelling…and yet it is sadly misdirected in a very important part of your story. You bring so many very good points to the table.
    However, you lose your position by both emphatically claiming that you were wronged and presenting false evidence against a company that you wrongly accuse. The email evidence and video evidence disproves your standing in one area that should never have been included. I have emailed you. I hope you remove this section so the good people can focus on what actually needs to be fixed.

        1. “Including verifibly incorrect information in this story does not cause him to lose position?” First, we must see that which verifies the information as incorrect. Second, given the huge amount of information in this article, one comparably small inaccuracy will not harm the story much

  18. Julia Rietz is a joke. Black gang members are gunning each other down all over CU and the cops are
    more concerned about political correctness and harassing innocent people. This is why small town populations throughout Champaign County are exploding.

  19. I’m a UIUC alumni and I believe you, and I’m so sorry this happened to you. Champaign police are corrupt and this Jennifer Ryan Stundins needs to be arrested and charged.

  20. I can’t believe how shameful and unprofessional all of these people are. The News Gazette, the Champaign police, the businesses of [business name removed], public defender, the whole judicial system, [business name removed] and [business name removed] and Jennifer, you are a lying drunk shameful human, why don’t you go f#$k yourself

    1. Do not include our businesses in your disgust. I’ve reached out to the author discussing the exact email correspondence we had and suggested he go back and look at them like I have. The information concerning them is falsely portrayed. However, because his story has so many points that need to be looked into I will give him some time to correct his errors.

      1. Then supply the email thread that you so believe proves your innocence in this matter. His story is his story and he is free to tell it how he sees it. You harassing him does not make you or you business look any better. Embarrassing.

      2. Again.
        Then why not state in plain english which points of his story are incorrect? Like you’ve been asked to twice or more now?

        But you haven’t done so, and you won’t, because you’re just belching squid ink and white noise in some lame kind of excuse mongering.

        If anything “Joe Bonilla” and his empty posts just strengthen the guy’s story, because they are basically veiled threats to try and shut him down.

        I personally am spreading this story to as many forums and chatrooms as I can to make it spread.

        “Sunlight is a strong antiseptic” as the saying goes

        1. I am currently emailing back and forth with Christopher. I believe he should have the opportunity for a correction in order to ensure the rest of what he wrote is looked into. If the rest of the information is factual he deserves every opportunity to be heard.

  21. Ok… First of all, we all know jail is a bad place. Some of the worst people on this planet are found in jail cells! If you thought jail was full of puppies and stuffed animals, you’re an idiot. This is why people avoid jail, and you probably should too! 🙂

    Second, just by your description alone, and reading the first paragraph, you obviously don’t know how to cooperate with police. Actually, what you did was illegal, dangerous, and stupid. To be honest, what you did was idiotic, and you could have ended up in a much worse situation. ‘You sat there demanding to know their identities, and telling them to bring their supervisor?’… Are you serious? Who the f*k are you, the police chief? You were stupid enough to end up on the TV show ‘Idiots gone Wild.’ If ‘5 cop cars’ pull you over, and YOUR logic is to sit there asking them for their IDs?… You are delusional, or highly impaired. Sorry but, UIUC does not have the smartest kids… In fact, I spent a lot of time at UIUC and I know firsthand that UIUC is full of degenerates and delinquents that have a mediocre intelligence level. Your claim is speculative, and fits the typical profile of a witch hunt/accusation debacle that people often do when they get in trouble with the law! You sound like an anarchist. You obviously are trying to redirect the blame at others when you are in trouble.

    1. You should be a genius!!! Good job, you are not more than a pet of the system, who evidently doesn’t think beyond fox news and obediently nod to the injustice and arbitrariness… 😉

    2. Police regularly deal with physically and verbally abusive confrontations all the time. Mr Hansen was neither physically or verbally abusive

    3. You are sonsadly mistaken it is not against the law to request a reason for being pulled over and then asking to speak with a supervisor, especially if you are innocent! The police have lied and systematically ruined any reputation of fairness and “protect and serve” to its citizens. The thin blue line is now the thick and corrupt blue line of unethical policing!

    4. It’s not illegal to ask a police officer to identify themselves and further more its not illegal to ask for a supervisor. You can always ask for a County Sheriff to come in. Whether or not the police officer being asked will actually do it is another story. State laws very from when it comes to what is “appropriate” interaction with police. It sounds like you have a very biased view and assume the police are always right and people in jail are always the worst of the worst? You should probably read up on the legal rights us citizens have. Police impersonators (which is a very prevalent issue) can take advantage of citizens and in some cases do so to commit murder. Things of that nature led to more rights for people to ask police officers to identify themselves for the safety of the citizen. For example an unmarked cop car should never perform a traffic stop. They do, but they should not for a standard traffic violation. Rolling your window down 2 to 3 inches allows for a safe interaction where you can pass them all the information they need and ensure you are comfortable with their identification and can always, “ALWAYS” ask for a police supervisor. Now these rules do apply only to standard traffic stops and you should always comply with police officers. Should they choose not to protect your civil rights you will need to take that up in court after the fact. Remember the justice department says you are innocent until proven guilty but a police officer (and the person who thinks all of UIUC is full of nothing but degenerates) will almost always assume your guilty before innocent. I mean why would they have to arrest an innocent person… Right!?

  22. I am so sorry, you have went through this. Funny thing, officers have made comments about Arnold was only made supervisor at the Jail, so he would stop applying to be on the street. I hope karma gets everyone of them, and to all you people that were to afraid to stand up and help him in his time of need, I hope you or your kids or family needs help one day, and doesn’t get it.

  23. I am not “close friends” with Ms. Ryan nor was I in anyway involved with the events described. She did contact me to testify on her behalf and I declined as my only familiarity was that which she told me. This was the last contact I had with Ms. Ryan.

    I have not had a single conversation about this incident with any city employee or police official (or anyone else, for that matter).

    In the interest of credibility I would suggest my name be removed from your testimony with regard to this incident.

    Thank you.

    1. As if anyone would believe you’d say anything else you hedonistic, sycophantic, sociopathic douchebag. It seriously would be best if you left our community instead of preying on our children, creep.

      1. I believe, according to his twitter handle, that he prefers to be addressed as the “Honorable hedonistic, sycophantic, sociopathic douchebag.”

    2. Agreed about Don Gerard: “
      As if anyone would believe you’d say anything else you hedonistic, sycophantic, sociopathic douchebag. It seriously would be best if you left our community instead of preying on our children, creep.

    3. However, the writer states: “Before and after the incident, Ryan and Gerard spent most of their weekends together, traveling to nearby cities and attending various events (and posting Facebook photos of themselves all the while).”
      Given the meticulousness of writer’s narrative and investigations, believing this claim of a relationship between you and Ryan is quite tempting

    4. I find your comment somewhat disingenuous since you openly admit she found it appropriate to ask you to testify on her behalf in the first place. People do not ask favors of that nature to those they do not have a closer relationship with (regardless of the capacity).

    5. So is it untrue that you were brought up twice on ethics violations? And that You and Ryan attended social events together?

    6. Yes, you are. You’re all over her Facebook in late 2015 and into 2016. It’s quite apparent you are/were indeed “good friends” with her.

    7. pretty interesting how so many of the people mentioned in the article were employees of Champaign while you were mayor and that this was only a few months after you ceased being mayor, meaning this behavior likely wasn’t new.

    8. This is funny… You think he would have hired someone to clean up his facebook account before claiming he barely knew this woman. You should probably speak to an attorney Donnie. They might tell you to keep your mouth closed. You are really Trumping this one up.

  24. Totally unsurprising but simply tragic. I hope you find justice and that things change. This is All tremendously unjust. Sending you peace.

  25. I supplied a comment about this “article” last night but I don’t see it here. Since it was highly critical of you personally I am assuming that you chose to not publish it. I know it is your site and your story but if you are only going to operate in the “attaboy” chamber you’ve set up then I doubt you are very self-reflective and you probably aren’t interested in hearing from anyone not firmly in your chamber. Your research efforts are amazing though, maybe you could put them to good use in a way that benefits people other than your very self? I know of people looking for employees that have your skills. But you are obviously such a self-involved guy that you probably aren’t much of a team player.

    1. Hmmm…. Words of police officers and others are documented. Mistreatment in jail described. Charges were dropped. Stonewalling by police explained. What “team” are you expecting Mr Hansen to want to play on?

    2. Augmenting the list in the 3:40am 21 Dec comment of persons to contact

      7) Principals and guidance counselors of Illinois high schools which send student to U of I

      1. So you would try to prevent high school kids from coming to the UI based on one guy’s experience with the police & courts in the City of Champaign? You think that is a fair exchange? One guy (and it wasn’t even you!) was treated in a way that you don’t think is appropriate and you would hold the entire University of Illinois responsible until what? Until they do what you/he wants? Until the entire criminal just system & media outlets do what you want?

        1. “So you would try to prevent high school kids from coming to the UI based on one guy’s experience with the police & courts in the City of Champaign? You think that is a fair exchange?” Those contemplating coming to UofI should know about this incident, and then make their own choice

          “One guy (and it wasn’t even you!) was treated in a way that you don’t think is appropriate and you would hold the entire University of Illinois responsible until what?” Very few would or should think his treatment was appropriate.

          “Until they do what you/he wants? Until the entire criminal just system & media outlets do what you want?” I have not requested anyone to do anything.

    3. Your comment is there. And it is interesting that you accuse him of being long winded and too much of a pain to read, and then say that those are good qualities that could be useful. Why dont you sit down, shut up, and read the article so that your opinion isnt so meaningless?

  26. This is not the first time I have heard of stories like this in Champaign-Urbana. I lived there for 20 years and saw how they treated people many times. They are totally out of control. Something needs to take a hard look at how they operate. You are brave for sharing this all to the often repeated story.

  27. This is not the first time I have heard of stories like this in Champaign-Urbana. I lived there for 20 years and saw how they treated people many times. They are totally out of control. Something needs to take a hard look at how they operate. You are brave for sharing this all to the often repeated story.

  28. I shared this story with ProPublica. I recommend everyone else to do the same or any other news outlet you trust to investigate on this.

  29. I am so sorry this happened to you. I am so sorry this happens to innocent people every day. Kudos to you for speaking out on behalf of yourself as well as those less able to defend themselves. I’ll be sharing your story (and I’ve got 3 restaurants to permanently cross off my list of places to eat downtown!)

    1. This story is falsely accusing at least one of those restaurants. I have the emails from our correspondence and it does not match up with this story.

  30. This reminds me of a similar scam when people tried to swindle the J.B. Pritzker campaign out of millions based on a false claims and crying wolf. This reminds me of one of those.

  31. I am not sure of the specifics, but I believe there is a new Illinois law going into effect Jan 1 that requires entities to comply with a request to take down your arrest record. Maybe that can help in a small way.

  32. This is a travesty. I stand with you in your fight for justice. We need a game plan on how citizens can address this. Perhaps we should try to add an agenda item at the next City Council meeting and show up en masse.

  33. I would love to tell a short snippet of my tragic story as well. My fiance was wrongfully accused of sexual assault against his own daughter, by his jealous, vindictive ex, whose family is very well-connected to those in local offices, as well as the devil incarnate, Mary Schenk. Even upon his exoneration, her writing continued to insinuate his guilt, despite the fact that the accuser provably perjured herself multiple times on the stand in his trial…at the end of which 12 people who were unrelated to us in any way determined he was innocent.

    Due to this piss-poor journalistic integrity, he has received countless death threats, and has left the state out of fear for his life. This town is toxic waste. Everyone in your story has a parallel in ours. Some even overlap. I hope they all receive justice, because this is simply unacceptable. One day, I hope I work up the courage to expose their names as well.

  34. Her name on FB is now Jen Ryan Stundins. She is the one who should be prosecuted, so she can suffer as this innocent man did.

  35. I believe you. At one point I might not have but my personal experiences with law enforcement in the county, at the jail, and within the corrupt local DA’s office have led me to believe that the justice system in Champaign County is a closed system that exists to serve the interests of the police. If you’ve been accused of a crime the burden is on the accused and there is no presumption of innocence.

    I’m so sorry you have had to deal and are still dealing with this. How terrible

  36. Wow. This is appalling and 100 percent believable. I was accused of some nonsense and in less extreme way, went through a similar experience by the urbana police. They were so certain I committed a hit and run because my car matched the description and had a partial(!) licence plate match. They were so convinced I committed the crime and they wouldn’t let up no matter what i said or what evidence I came up with. After a couple hours I just admitted I did it, because I didn’t want to go to jail and experience what you did. I was looking at tons of fines and restitution and a fucked up life when luckily the person who did it turned themselves in. I just thought wow this is how people get screwed over by the police and that’s just that. Completely ridiculous. This is why we need our police to be required to complete years of schooling first and not just try to prove someone’s guilt, but actually investigate and do their jobs.

  37. Don Gerard, dumb ass of the decade.

    you are such a liar and now it has caught up with you. There is a photo of you and your “not so close friend” at a game that is dated from two weeks before the arrest. You stupid fucker .

  38. I’m so sorry this happened to you. You are so brave for standing up for what is right and telling your story – it’s people like you who change the world for the better.
    As a former UIUC alumni, I can tell you fucking countless story’s of the corruption of Champaign, IL, from also personally being a victim as well (of a much lesser offense luckily) as well as my friends.
    As well, as a former bartender, I was able to see some shady fleetingly practices the Champaign police department does.
    Thank you again for your story

  39. When she was making up her story, she almost said it was an African American, but she thought about the optics and said it was a white guy instead. Then she took to Facebook to talk about the “angry white man” that robbed her. That’s why this happened to you. Your identity. Focus your thoughts and anger on that and think about why that was able happen. Hope your eyes are open now.

  40. People make false complaints or misidentify innocent people who are in the wrong place at the wrong time and the police have to deal with the situation based on whatever information is available at the time. If you are pulled over you should roll your window down the whole way before an officer even gets there. Never ask why this or why that. Let them ask the questions and follow their commands POLITELY. React and speak in a manner that is respectful. Make their job as easy as possible by cooperating fully. Unfortunately, if some woman makes a false claim against you, the police have to react on that claim as if it is true until contradicting information comes to light. You really can’t blame the police in this matter. You play at your own risk when you don’t follow commands the first time. People get arrested for false claims every day, spend dozens of years in jail, and even get executed. You also made a mistake in not making a statement in your defense as that could have prevented charges by the State’s Attorney’s office. The way you were treated in jail is another situation and you could have pursued a federal lawsuit under Section 1983 but it doesn’t appear you were given this advice. You also could have filed your own lawsuit by the statutory of limitation deadline and continued to seek an attorney. And police don’t have to file or investigate counter-claims. As far as posting this online, whether or not you have potential federal or state claims still available against those whom you believed wronged you, it is ill-advised. Nothing good can come from this for you. Rule of thumb is that if you have a claim; file a lawsuit, win, then let your attorney do the talking. If you can’t get relief in the court system then you have to move on with your life and be thankful it wasn’t worse and got out of it with no charges against you. This post, no matter how true, will not bring you justice or make your life better. If you want to change things then run for office or become a police officer. I’m sorry this happened to you but take my advice – be happy you walked out with no charges and let it go. Some people never walk out.

    1. I agree with this. As cathartic as it feels to share this whole story, it will not make your life better. I believe every word you say here, you seem like a credible guy and I’m sorry you had to go through this.

      At the very least, I would leave out the irrelevant accusations, such as the bit about Hale Law firm… there are a lot of other entities that don’t deserve to be implicated in this and publicly shamed.

    2. I couldn’t disagree more. What you’re saying is that our existing police state is the way things are and that he should accept what happened and move on with his life. What he experienced is nothing short of fascism, plain and simple. I’m glad he spoke up. We need more stories like this to come. There are too many rats in the grain.

      1. I never said he should not have spoken up but this is not the proper venue. The proper venue is a civil lawsuit. Those remedies were exhausted and the charges were dropped so he needs to move on with his life. I don’t know if his civil case is still ongoing against the woman but if it is, posting about the case like this is a mistake. The police officers were doing their job and the author escalated the situation by not complying. Rolling your window down a few inches and asking questions or making demands instead of following lawful orders is ill-advised. No government official is going to help him and continuing to engage in behavior such as postings like this that will cause him to have to look back on his life will not help. Now Hansen has to live with the fear that every person who knocks on his door is the police for the purpose of arresting him or to issue a summons. He has or had a clear cut case of libel per se against this woman. Before Hansen decided to post his story did he ever think that maybe the woman really truly believed he robbed her of her purse? She was obviously drunk and her accusations could be related to mental health issues.

        1. So if a person is faced with a stressful situation they did not create and are not responsible for in any way, including an out of proportion response by armed police, we should do a play by play critique of their actions? Maybe police could de-escalate rather than using every stop as an excuse for macho antics which they clearly view as a perk of doing their job. You can see totally out of proportion police responses throughout CU – it’s like the cops get bored and view this as entertainment at the public’s expense.

    3. sometimes the only way to get accountability is to cause a public outcry. being silent isn’t going to change anything, but someone like you seems to think that the status quo is acceptable

    4. I’m sorry this happened to you but take my advice – be happy you walked out with no charges and let it go. Some people never walk out.
      – Sorry there is this insanely corrupt and inane law system that is most likely responsible for the deaths of a few, the maltreatment of thousands, and the continuing degradation of the laws that rule 10s of thousands in his area.

      This post, no matter how true, will not bring you justice or make your life better.
      – Thats not true. This post has been viewed over a MILLION times. No doubt hes getting press coverage, no doubt hes getting people reaching out to him, no doubt hes getting people fighting for him.

      I understand what you are advising and saying. But this guy is a fucking hero, where most (including me and obviously you) would count our blessings and quiver at the injustice, he refuses to. I understand you are giving him advice, but he obviously has heard that from attorneys and he is saying, “I wont let this happen to me” – hes choosing to fight. And honestly, I dont think, especially with the coverage he has, anything will come that is bad. He’s not malicious, hes not over-the-top unrealistic, he just genuinely wants justice and he has enough evidence to back it up.

      GO CHRIS GO! Make the world a better place!

  41. Unfortunately, welcome to Champaign. I have been telling people, anyone who will listen, about the way these cities operate. I have been pulled over multiple times for being white in a black neighborhood (thinly veiled as minor traffic infractions). One such time, all the occupants of my vehicle were pulled out of the car and searched while a drug sniffing dog was walked around my car, and apparently the dog “hit” on my car (lies) which gave them right to search and tear my car apart looking for “drugs”. Of course, nothing was found. Another time I was pulled over coming from a friends house and harassed about “where the drugs are”. I was handcuffed and placed in the back of a cruiser with no air conditioning in the summer time, while they searched my vehicle. They found $10 in my vehicle and assured me that I’d want to hold on to it for my bail when they find the drugs in my car. (They found nothing but cigarette butts).
    Don’t get me started on the jail facility. The holding cells and men’s facilities are the Hilton compared to the women’s facilities! I was jailed for 30 days due to traffic related offenses. The rats and roaches are indescribable. There is one shower (and one toilet)for roughly 25 women. There are toilets in the cells, but they lock you out of the cells at 6am. There is absolutely no supervision, you would only see a CO at count time. They would bring 1 pack of menstrual pads per week (for 25 women), but drop them at the door and it was first come first serve. You would be punished for bleeding on your clothes. Certain CO’s had their favorite girls and would pull them out of the pod for “special favors”. Good luck if you’re sick. The nurse comes once a week if you’re lucky, unless you already take medication, you’d get that maybe. You first had to get an appointment with the doctor so he could prescribe your medication for you. Which, as explained above, is impossible. My best friend died in there 6 years ago, in part due to Champaign County’s indifference to medical care for their inmates. And many more came before her and after her.
    As far as Mary Schenk….how does she even still have a job?? When my friend died, she reported all her previous crimes and painted her as a junkie, and almost like she deserved to die. What she DIDN’T do was her job and do any type of background on her. She didn’t report how in the years preceding her death, that she worked hand in hand with Judge Ford and the Prairie Center, and how she impacted numerous people in this community. How she was a mother, sister and wife….none of it.
    I almost can’t blame Mary. She is reporting what she knows. She is reporting what a whole class or community of people know. She will never know what the other “us” knows. Her privilege is showing. You, my friend, have had the veil lifted. You now know what your privilege allowed you. And now you know the “other us”.
    I hope things get better for you. I hope you find solace in knowing that you’re not alone. ❤️

    1. Your story is even more absurd than his. Are you really saying you were profiled for being white? That is ridiculous and clearly you’re just looking for someone to blame for your failures and criminal history. If your deceased friend was a junkie and that was evident by your friends past then that is exactly what would have been in the paper, that is how news stories work. I still cannot believe you actually claim you were profiled for being white, that is the biggest load of crap ever. Get off the drugs and stop breaking the law and your life will improve and you will not end up dead like your junkie friend

      1. BobTodd, you’re an ass.
        For the record, my only conviction has been for traffic related offenses….over 10 years ago. But obvs, that’s not what you’re here for.
        Yes, I have, and plenty of my friends (even a cops daughter) have gotten pulled over for being white in a black neighborhood (why else would we be there besides buying drugs, riiighht??). Just like plenty of my black friends either refused to drive out to my neighborhood, or have gotten pulled over for being black in the wrong neighborhood. (Because they’re only there to case the houses, riiight??)
        YOU are the problem sir. And everyone like you. The rest of us are just waiting for your kind to die off so that we can effect change.
        I will say a little prayer for you, that karma will come your way….maybe you’ll get pulled out of your car forcefully for being an old white guy that fits the description. Or maybe you’ll find yourself addicted to pain pills and die a junkie ( you’ll deserve it, right??)
        Fuck you very much old white dude.

  42. Sounds exactly like good old Champaign government to me. No evidence needed just a accusation and boom CPD goon squad tackles you, hurts you, then wants to be your friend when you get to jail. When you do not want to be friends then they punish you by using jail tactics and threats to make you talk. Thank god you made bail or you would still be locked up for years to come. I survived living there in CU for over 20 years. I moved far away and avoid going back to that place at all costs. Knowing what you went through personally my advise is move asap and never look back. The CPD, News Gazoo, and the kangaroo Courts are a joke. The government is a joke and the “citizens” are a joke. The U of I is a joke. The only problem is the joke is not funny. Just get out before the jokes on you.

  43. You are very brave for posting your story! I hope you get justice and can get those articles taken down to fully clear your name! Thank you for sharing you story!

  44. While it may be true that you were misidentified as the perpetrator of this alleged crime you evidently have no idea how to interact with police. When stopped by the police they have the right to detain you for safety and investigative reasons. Rolling down your window 3 inches and demanding a supervisor instead of following lawful orders is exactly why that situation escalated the way it did. That part was 100% your fault. Also, you seem to have your tin foil hat on too tight with all of this conspiracy nonsense. You seem quite paranoid and delusional and I implore you to seek psychiatric help as soon as possible. In reference to your FOIA requests, most of the information you are seeking is not available to the public and therefor is not able to be released to you. There is too much ridiculous paranoia in this letter to unpack but if what you allege here actually happened as you state, which reads as embellished and pathologically false in places, a lawyer would absolutely have taken your case against the PD and county and gotten, at a minimum, as settlement in your favor. Again she may have misidentified you but the PD was doing their job. You fit the description of a robbery they were investigating and you did not comply with lawful orders which made the situation much worse than it needed to be. Why you waited 3 years to disclose any of this to the internet, instead of in a lawsuit, makes this whole fiasco really hard to believe and when you add all this nonsense about the former mayor, the newspaper, police officers, States Attorneys, Attorney General, and WCIA it becomes very hard to take your word for it. Clearly there is much more to the story than this diatribe you have spewed out here. I really hope you seek psychiatric help from a medical professional because you clearly have issues with paranoia and pathological lying. This article you have put on here is libel and will likely get you in trouble but maybe with psychiatric help they will not get you for defamation. I wish you the best and hope you seek the help you clearly need.

      1. I was thinking the same thing. Gaslighting the obvious victim…more then likely the abuser. Hey Jenny, read the comments. 85% of us believe him you lying cunt. Lay off the booze, ugly bitch.

    1. Something is clearly very wrong with you. The author has actual, verifiable evidence of intentional and malicious misconduct by the justice system. This is not the author’s problem alone, but the shared problem of every single member of this community. Reviewing the evidence that the author provided shows that the author does not have “issues with paranoia and pathological lying”. Personally, I encourage you to engage more with the people and community around you in the hope that you may broaden your own perspective.

    2. Er, he has complete evidence for everything he stated. I’ve seen most of it.

      Your reply? ‘Well, er, despite your complete evidence proving what you say, you must be crazy’.

      Er, well done.

    3. ” There is too much ridiculous paranoia in this letter to unpack …” Without being specific, your comments are best disregarded.

      I don’t know enough about what constitutes a lawful command to judge whether he did not obey such.
      It seems very possible that the officers violated department policies or even laws about interactions with the public. I seems officers should have and may have been required, when asked by Hansen, to tell him why he had been stopped. He was neither a physical threat nor a user of abusive language.

      HOWEVER, the incident’s and posting’s importance is the exposed corruption, bad behavior and integrity gaps:

      1. Police allowing an intoxicated woman in bad lighting without possibly needed glasses to make an identification. Arresting him without evidence of the alleged stolen items or chatting with him about his whereabouts.
      2. Officer joking amongst themselves, with the towing truck driver, the accuser and others
      3. His treatment in jail.
      4. Lawyers starting on his case and then not returning calls or discouraging him from proceeding with legal action.
      5. Local businesses not providing or losing videos (although comments above have disputed a bit of this)
      6. Failure to prosecute the woman for making a false report
      7. The discussion on this web page with Dan Gerard, including a link to the photo

  45. I totally applaud you for what you have done here and I’m sorry for what has happened to you. Even if you do not attain any justice, you have done a great deed in raising the town’s awareness of this corrupt force. Someone on Reddit suggested a town march/protest on the Champaign cop station. If you decide to do something like that, count me in.

  46. I was thinking the same thing. Gaslighting the obvious victim…more then likely the abuser. Hey Jenny, read the comments. 85% of us believe him you lying cunt. Lay off the booze, ugly bitch.

  47. Call For Mary Schenk’s Resignation

    https://www.change.org/p/champaign-news-gazette-call-for-mary-schenk-s-resignation?recruiter=925059434&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink&utm_campaign=tap_basic_share&utm_term=Search%3ESAP%3EUS%3ENonBrand-Tier%201%3ECreation%3EBMM

    Maybe if our reporters started shining a light on corrupt police instead of printing lies about innocent citizens, all these power hungry jerks would stop behaving as if they are Gods. Lets be real, the pigs will close ranks and protect their own. But Mary is a liability. She is going to get NG sued and shut down if they dont get rid of her for her endless violations against innocent people.

  48. You clearly have the video of the beginning of the traffic stop and also the video of your booking. Why not release those videos as well instead of having everybody rely on your version of events?

  49. Hang in there, Chris. No matter how much abuse you get from naysayers, maintain the facts. If named people reach out to you requesting their info be removed, think about asking them to help address the issue. Some people will really work hard to clear their names and sometimes try to make up for their mistakes “ten-fold.” I was falsely accused of “running Mike Marron off the road” and “unlawful restraint” in mid 2013. The police report was distributed to the entire county board before my FOIA request was processed so that I could see what it said. (Marron was chairman of the county board at that time.) The county sheriff’s office never investigated and never contacted me. (Mike Marron is now the Illinois State Representative, LOL.) He avoids me like the plague. (Probably a good idea not to waste time asking him for help.) I will be sharing your information with my children, relatives, and all their friends so they can be wary of what can happen to honest people. Sorry you were falsely accused and sorry for the snowball effect which followed.

  50. Christopher Hansen’s property shares a back alley with mine. Earlier this year a couple people tried to break into my car. By the time I got outside the two were gone but Chris was by my porch on his bike. He had heard my car alarm go off and attempted to per sure them. Unfortunately they got away but he was able to show me security footage of the two young men fleeing my car when the alarm went off. He talked with me about how this had become a more common occurrence in the area and that he had successfully thwarted off other robberies in the past. This may be anecdotal, but when I see him riding his bike around the neighborhood I feel more secure. At least in my experience a car is LESS likely to be broken into with Chris around.

  51. I am sorry but not surprised. In the few times I have had to deal with the Champaign Pokicr Dept, it was unpleasant and obvious that I didn’t have the clout, money and it connections to be listened to. It didn’t help that the officer that responded was corrupt himself (later caught red handed stealing and let go). I believe he was only let go because he was caught…..:it doesn’t get rid of the others.

  52. I wish there was something that we, the readers, could do. Some may read your sleepless nights and think that you are being over-dramatic – but having been in a place where your freedom was unjustly threatened, I completely understand. Luckily, mine lasted alot less than yours. I wish there was something I could do to help, I emailed the gazette (a nice email but on your side) and I also would definitely donate to any GoFundMe campaign, because I know that change is going to cost money. I think its incredibly brave what you are doing, and there definitely does seem to be a systemic issue that will undoubtedly cost more hardship, more lives, and more injustice if someone doesn’t address it. You seem like a smart guy, I also know this endeavor is taking you away from work you could be doing. Your story and perseverance in this case is incredible – I think it will end up being more impactful than any other endeavor you can possibly do. My email is in this comment, please email all the comments with updates

  53. Sometimes you have to strategically endure some humiliations in order to set yourself up for a better retort down the line. Cops protect the rich. They aren’t ideological for the most part. You seem kind of naive in that you didn’t wait until you had some intel on your accuser before becoming uncooperative. A wealthy, quasi-local celebrity that happens to be a, I guess some might say attractive, blonde woman accused you, so you had no chance from the start. You should have just focused on getting through and surviving the ordeal. Be thankful that this didn’t happen to you at the height of #MeToo. Of course the local government, police department, and (((press))) is corrupt. Democracies, even representative democracies, always become democracies for the rich. As far as blowback goes, not sure what to tell you. Get a body cam. Document all your interactions with the police and upload somewhere they can’t get to. If you find yourself swarmed again and they all are acting twitchy with their guns out, that will probably be the end of the road for you. Good luck, man. I hope that you will learn from this.

  54. Don Gerard you are such a JAG. There are pictures of you and Jennifer Ryan all over FB. Did you really think no one would look? If you are willing to lie about your relationship with her (A) What’s your motivation to lie and (B) You are probably willing to lie about your involvement in the matter.

    You left so much self serving B.S. in your wake it feels like you were a 4 term mayor instead of just the one. You aren’t cut out to be Mayor McCheese much less mayor of Champaign.

  55. First, Champaign residents need to figure out what they want to change. Make a list of demands that will fix the problems described here.

    Then, make the changes happen. The News-Gazette is probably easiest to take on since they rely on advertising revenue. If they don’t meet your demands, boycott their advertisers. Who oversees the Champaign Police? The city council? Take demands to the councilors and un-elect them if they fail to enact reforms. Who oversees the jail? Same thing. Get organized. Be persistent. Win.

  56. Probably should have turned off the car, put the keys on the dash, and had your hands out the window with license, registration, and proof of insurance.

    Then you could have complied and not pissed odd people with guns.

    1. We have a right to know what we are being stopped for. With all the videos of police murdering innocent citizens, I wouldnt be eager to get out either. Tuck in your curly tail, you fat fucking pig.

    2. Could the police have maybe said something like “I am officer so and so and you match the description of a purse snatcher”. Is that asking too much of the police?

      1. That’s one thing that the Nazi SS did right I guess — hand over your papers because I said so. And if you ask why well then you are taking your life into your own hands. Good thing we live in the the land of the free…

  57. I think this whole thing is a travesty and you should pursue charges against those who wronged you. I disagree with one part of your story though, when you mention in the end that no matter what your response was, the end result would have been the same.

    Lowering your window by 3 inches, not complying, and asking for a supervisor when there are multiple squad cars and police officers surrounding you is not smart. You unnecessarily escalated the situation. I understand they should have told you why they were pulling you over, but in their defense, they were responding to what they thought was a strong arm robbery that happened minutes ago with the witness identifying you.

    Being non-compliant and asking for a supervisor, barely opening the window, is really the wrong time to play tough guy. Also why not post the full video of the police pulling you over? You only posted 4 seconds before they shatter the window. They asked you multiple times to come out of the vehicle, what did you think the outcome would be in this situation? The cop literally told you that they would shatter your window if you didn’t come out. You can’t tell the readers that the outcome would have been the same had you been responsive and maybe rolled your window down a little more. You’re smart enough to know that.

    I do however agree that you should pursue charges against the accuser Jen Ryan and maybe even the News-Gazette and anyone who did anything illegal. This clearly should not have gone this far and I understand that there is clear corruption going on. I think you unnecessarily escalated a situation that could have been resolved fairly easily and you were unlucky in the fact that this person who accused you is extremely connected. Take her to civil court, get your justice, but please don’t paint the picture that no matter what you did that night, the outcome would have been the same.

    1. I disagree. He pulled over, handed them his ID – they knew immediately who he was, and placed his hands on the steering wheel which does 2 things. 1) it shows he is not being a threat and 2) that he has restricted his ability to reach for a weapon.

      Now, people can talk about how to respond to a police stop all they want, but this is a man who is not normally stopped by the police, apparently, was suddenly surrounded by up to 9 cars, with officers brandishing weapons, putting them in an offensive and aggressive stance. They were not being professional, they were being confrontational.

      I came across a link to this shortly after it was posted and the first thing I did was search Jenifer Ryan’s FB page and the painstakingly scrolled back to the summer of 2015. The first thing that caught me off guard is that I was expecting this to be a young woman who was probably college age at the time of the incident. Everything Mr. Hansen posted about her lined up, including her associations and moves out of state. It’s also easy to surmise this is a woman who is used to being spoiled, fawned over and getting her way.

      I feel for the victim, Mr. Hansen, in many ways, but let’s be realistic. This is not unique. Not to citizens, certainly not to the city of Champaign. Bureaucratic corruption is rampant and social media is overflowing with incidents of Police overstepping their bounds resulting in harassment, false arrest and bodily injury, including death.

      1. I agree with some of your points. The situation could have been handled better, but the issue at hand is with the initial traffic stop. By the very nature of barely lowering the window, requesting a supervisor, and not getting out of the vehicle, Hansen escalated a situation.

        Again, in the eyes of the police, this is a man who was identified as the suspect to a strong arm robbery. That is the only information they have and of course the situation will be tense. I also noticed right now that Hansen said in his letter that before he could think about ways to deescalate the situation, the officer shattered his window. It makes it seem like there was no warning, when clearly in the video that Hansen provided, the officer literally says if you don’t come out right now, I’m going to shatter your window.

        What do you think will happen? Hansen isn’t deescalating anything with his actions. He’s smart enough to know he’s in fact escalating the entire situation to a higher magnitude. The entire premise at the end where he claims that no matter what he did it would end up the same way is entirely wrong.

        I agree that there were heavy injustices done to Hansen and yes they should be corrected. He should go after that woman for all that she’s worth. But, there is no doubt in my mind that Hansen unnecessarily escalated this situation.

  58. Some observations:

    1. In Illinois there is no civil legal relief against a private person for filing a false report. Only the state’s attorney’s office can pursue these charges.
    2. Why hasn’t Mr. Hansen filed for expungement of the charge if it bothers him so much? Why did he choose to alert the entire world to his story if it bothers him so much?
    3. Officers responded to a report of a violent crime and followed their protocol while doing so.
    4. Officers only had the story and identification of Ms. Ryan to work with, until a couple days later when they filed their supplemental reports.
    5. If the News-Gazette produced its story from the police reports, what has it done wrong?
    6. Claiming a conspiracy involving Don Gerard is silly. He disgraced himself as mayor and has no clout.
    7. Mr. Hansen was arrested on Aug 24 and his case was dismissed Oct. 9. That’s lightning speed for the court system. He never even made it to his first pre-trial appearance before the matter was dismissed. It seems the system worked in his favor after all.
    8. The alleged behavior of the Champaign County corrections officers is disturbing; but we don’t have any audio or video with which to evaluate what those officers perceived of his mental state. We also don’t know how many other people they were handling that night so we can’t judge whether the time he spent in custody was unreasonable.
    9. Just because a private business may or may not have video does not give a person any right to demand the business’ private property. It can be disclosed during an investigation through subpoena power but you can’t compel it any other way.
    10. Ms. Ryan appears to have some issues for which she ought to seek professional help.

    While I am sure that all of this was very distressing for Mr. Hansen at the time, ultimately he was cleared and in a fairly short amount of time. It also appears he hasn’t pursued his available legal remedies so it’s confusing why he would publish this story now. The idea that there is some underlying conspiracy or corruption is laughable. Most government is minimally competent at providing basic services. To accuse any government of going above and beyond in a conspiracy effort gives government employees more credit than they deserve. This is a tragic set of circumstances that was unfortunately put in motion by Ms. Ryan’s lack of judgement and apparently poor moral character.

  59. At 17, I earned my Eagle Scout rank and had started an online business designing and selling small electronics for robotics and radio control.

    This rank was something that you ( and should be) quite proud of. No doubt you have used it for college and job applications.

    Yet you failed as you neglected both the oath and law during your interactions with law enforcement. When you took on the Eagle rank you accepted responsibility for taking this rank. You failed when you should have cooperated with the police. You were not living up to the expectations of what an Eagle Scout is. Again………….. you brought scouting into this story trying to show the world that you are a nice guy. I wonder if any of the arresting Officers were Eagles. Would that make a difference?

    1. After reading his story THAT’S what you focus in on?!
      Not due process, public officials overstepping their authority or neglect, civil rights violations?
      Just tell us how he wouldn’t of been arrested if he cooperated?

    2. LOLWUT.jpg what total bullsh*t. Like something a really crap version of grima wormtongue would vomit up.

      If you can’t remain calm in a demanding situation, then you should not be a police, I mean, Law Enforcement officer (since they don’t police the law anymore, they enforce on people and situations that were otherwise benign).

      If one guy simply asking them to tell him why he is being pulled over or whatever causes them to spazz out that violently, then they should be in a zoo, and not driving around armed and with the power of life and death of innocent people.

  60. THE SAME THING HAPPENED TO ME
    I wont go into details about what I was arrested for or what date, because I want to remain anonymous. I was a Civil E student at UIUC when this occurred. Due to a head injury obtained moments before the police arrived, I was literally dizzy, going in and out of comprehension while I was being questioned. An ambulance was called for me, and I was wheeled into the ER and was put in a neck brace for concussion. I was told in the ER I was being arrested because my “story didn’t add up, but the other persons did”. OK but I was literally being questioned while I was blacking out from HEAD TRAUMA. I asked to speak to someone with more authority because I didn’t even believe what was happening. The sherif came into my ER room, told me he would make my situation more miserable as possible if I didn’t comply. I was sobbing, so confused and scared. I was the one who called 911 and yet I was being arrested. I was taken out of the ER without any treatment, handcuffed, and put into Champaign county jail. I was NEVER READ MY RIGHTS. I was on my period and multiple times I begged for a pad, tampon, anything because I was bleeding through my pants. The lady pretended not to hear me and left. I was given a meal. I couldn’t eat it because I have Celiacs. I was told to “try my best to eat”. I was kept on watch because of my head injury, so I LITERALLY HAD A DOCTOR COME IN ONCE EVERY FEW HOURS TO MAKE SURE I DIDN’T DIE, yet they didn’t bother double checking my story. I had to share a cell with a woman going through crack withdrawal, a woman who was covered in blood from beating up her roommate, a woman who was arrested for beating her own child too hard. Finally the arresting officer came to visit me and told me he didn’t think I deserved this. He took pictures of my battered face for more evidence, and got someone to get me something for my period. In the morning I had video court where they told me to come back for my court date. I went in for my court date, and before I even got in the court room, the officer told me my charges had been dropped and i didn’t even need to be there. OK BUT WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED? COOL THANKS. The fall out was horrible. The university got involved, and the other person was eventually kicked out of UIUC for what they did, and I was given a no-contact campus order, so the other person cannot even come within a certain distance from me on campus. Yet, because of the complete incompetence by the PD, when my full name is googled, my mugshot shows up because an “independent news source” decided to pull peoples mugshots and make them public. IE even though I’ve been compltely cleared, AND THE OTHER PERSON INVOLVED WAS PUNISHED, the mugshot the PD posted the day off was pulled by someone else and is on the internet forever to see. Chris, feel free to contact me if you’d like. I feel your pain and I want to see you win this.

    1. The news gazette is nothing but a clickbait rag. They get clicks putting every arrest up, but unlike real journalists, they don’t follow up when charges are dropped. The only time I can think of was when a homeless guy wasn’t charged with a crime for removing a Muslim student’s hijab due to mental health reasons, but that was just since they wanted go on about how the ‘politically correct’ university community was concerned about prejudice which obviously doesn’t exist except in a few mental health cases. So it’s was just an attempt to troll the university community that, from reading the news-gazette, I get the impression they think just contaminate what would otherwise be a great region.

      In some countries, what the news gazette does would be considered a human rights violation.

      Also, nobody should be put into jail with injuries, and the fact that you were subjected to such abuse in prison and denied adequate medical jail should get that jailhouse doc’ license revoked.

  61. Recently the CPD arrested my friend inside his home for a crime that he had video evidence he did not commit. In so many words the PD said if he wasn’t such a asshole to them things would of been different.

  62. Bob Dylan wrote, “it makes you feel ashamed to live in a land where justice is just a game.” After reading the article and comments, being a life long resident to the area, I suspect that CU is not that dissimilar to Decatur, Danville, Bloomington/Normal.

    What makes this story compelling is the rank injustice found at every step: the stop and ID, the jail, the courts, and even local attorneys, FOIA, the Media. Mr Hansen went looking for Justice and that’s what he found: Just Us.

    Some comments allude to how difficult policing can be. This in part is not untrue as anyone who has witnessed a domestic dispute intervention can attest. But still, there ought to be strict protocols for essentially compliant stops. From the word get go Mr Hansen’s rights were wantonly ignored and his treatment from then on deteriorated. While his drunken accuser’s word was inviolate. All because he was wearing a black shirt and pants? God forbid his skin was black or brown!

    Up and down the line this case was grossly mishandled. I applaud Mr Hansen’s speaking out! We need an independent commission to delve into just such stories and hold those who defile Justice to account.

  63. If ONLY CM Bruno was behind having city owned cameras in the downtown area.. but he is opposed to this on 4th amendment concerns ( which of course he is wrong on) . If there were cameras then it would have showed right away who was lying and who was not. Of course the SJW are worried about big brother and what the evil CPD might do…. I do note however that the killing in 2017 of the Chinese scholar was solved by a………………… you guessed it…………… a video camera installed on an MTD stop. I look forward to seeing Christopher and his supporters demanding that the City Council address the issue of cameras and their installation to keep us safe.

    I guess Chris does not read the papers much.. exactly how much has the City of Champaign paid out in the past 2 years for alleged misconduct? Over 2 million? Might want to contact those attorneys to take your case. They do not seem to be afraid of the City of Champaign.

  64. 1.Wow. I have run into Chris a few times when I lived in Urbana, and anyone who’s met him could see he’s just a mild-mannered, sweet, polymath supernerd. He also seems like a good neighbor, and it’s so sad that this happened to him.
    2.I lived in Urbana for 10 years, and CU cops are the laziest bunch I’ve ever encountered in my life . They’re like the stereotype of how small town cops are small town cops because big city departments would never let these people work for them.
    3.The FBI investigates endemic police corruption. https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/public-corruption For example, the FBI had to fix the entire PD of Burbank due to a pattern of excessive force, discrimination, cover-ups and retaliation nearly a decade ago. There’s a state public corruption hotline that must be pretty popular in Illinois: https://www.fbi.gov/investigate/public-corruption/regional-corruption-hotlines
    4.Filing a false police report is a Class 4 felony in Illinois. Jennifer Ryan deserves to be locked up.

  65. I wonder if Jennifer Ryan Stundins was aware of what a rampaging sleazeball womanizer Don Gerard is. I bet he made her feel special, just like all the other ones. They are perfect for eachother. His friends are quite aware of his proclivities, but they look the other way- the cheating, the lying, the using, the manipulating. They’re good hypocrite friends, #metoo!

    Don Gerard cheated on his wife with the babysitter, right? And he cheated on Laura Huth with several women. I think he became mayor so he could use his time in office to nail chicks. I remember cringing when he’d strut around downtown after the Tuesday night city council meetings thinking he was such a big shot. Now he’s back to his day job of facilities manager at the U of I.

    In any case, when it was mentioned Jennifer Ryan Stundins’ connection to him, it certainly cemented part of the reason why things transpired the way they did. Although her connections to others were also outlined.

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