STAFF EDITORIAL: Eastern should support Butler

Staff Editorial

Eastern swimmer Jaylan Butler and the ACLU filed a lawsuit against police officers for an incident that occurred last February, in which police officers pinned Butler to the ground, placed him under arrest, held guns on him and threatened to “blow his f****** head off” if he moved. This is according to the lawsuit filed by Butler. 

Butler was not the person the police were searching for. Even after the police realized this, having already traumatized Butler with their aggressive behavior, the police tried to place Butler under arrest for “resisting arrest.”

It is clear that this police work is uncalled for and cannot go unpunished as we at The Daily Eastern News wrote in our editorial on Monday. 

Jaylan’s story has grabbed national headlines, getting picked up by BET, NBC News, The Washington Post and other major news outlets. 

Butler’s story garnered comments from public figures on social media, including Illinois’ Governor J.B. Pritzker, who said, “I’m deeply troubled by what I’ve read about how Jaylan Butler, an African-American athlete at EIU, was mistreated by law enforcement in East Moline. It’s unacceptable for any young person to feel unsafe and disrespected anywhere in this state-but every day, too many young people of color live through it. I urge a thorough and transparent investigation of what took place.”

Governors, representatives, celebrities and even professional athletes like Adam Jones and Marcus Stroman weighed in on Jaylan’s story on social media. Everywhere Jaylan’s story went it gained traction and drew responses. Everywhere except Eastern. 

Thousands of people had something to say about Butler’s story: the governor, athletes, news outlets. 

Everyone had something to say except Eastern. The school Jaylan attends and plays a sport for had nothing to say about what happened to him. 

Eastern students and staff spoke up about Butler on social media, defending his story and standing behind him in this difficult time. But the school itself had no comment. 

Eastern’s official statement on Jaylan was “Although EIU is not a party to the lawsuit, the university has no comment while it is pending litigation.”

Nothing about Jaylan, nothing about their student-athlete. Eastern’s comment was simply nothing. 

Jaylan being an athlete at the school is what makes Eastern’s “no comment” to his situation even more disheartening. 

Eastern expects Butler to give his all on behalf of the school every time he competes, yet when it comes time for Eastern to back Butler in a time of tremendous need, we instead hear crickets from the school. 

Eastern’s athletic slogan has been #bleedblue, well when it comes to supporting Jaylan, a student-athlete at Eastern, it seems everyone is bleeding blue … except Eastern.

The Editorial Staff can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected].