An Illinois officer was disciplined for “conduct unbecoming an officer” after he informed a youngster exterior a neighborhood pawn store in Lake Villa, Lake County, that he was being detained as a result of “he was white,” the police chief said Tuesday.
The incident occurred when Detective Esteban Gomez was conducting a theft investigation, and ordered a gaggle of 5 youngsters to take a seat down on the curb exterior the store, Police Chief Craig Somerville stated.
A video of the trade was shot by one of the youngsters within the group, who posted it on Fb on Monday.
Within the video, the detective is heard asking the group whether or not they had “weed” on them.
After that, one of many teenagers was heard asking Gomez whether or not he was being detained for being a youngster or carrying dishevelled pants.
The detective replies, “Since you are white.”
In an announcement Tuesday, Somerville said that his investigation of the case revealed that Detective Gomez responded “inappropriately and unprofessionally” in coping with the youngsters, Chicago Tribune reported.
He then added, “Detective Gomez has been disciplined for conduct unbecoming an officer. He might be aiding me with talking to the mother and father and youths concerned on this incident. I apologize to anybody who could have been offended by what’s depicted on this video. This occurred on my watch, and I assume full accountability.”
He then went on to say, “The detective [Gomez] instantly introduced this to my consideration when he returned to the station. Shortly thereafter, I obtained a name from the mother or father of one of many teenagers informing me of the incident. Detective Gomez admitted his phrases have been poorly chosen and insensitive, and he instantly regretted what he had stated.”
Somerville in his assertion additionally talked about Gomez’s volunteer work with the group’s younger individuals, and described the detective as a “hard-working”, “devoted officer” who “cares in regards to the individuals.”
He additionally stated that one of many youngsters was charged with obstruction of justice after he gave a pretend title to the detective.
Dezi Baczek, 18, who posted the video on Fb wrote in an accompanying caption that Gomez was “discriminating” towards them as a result of they have been “white.”
She additionally claimed that the group didn’t commit any wrongdoing.
“The second I walked exterior, I used to be yelled at,” stated Baczek, including the detective informed her she can be arrested if she didn’t comply.
She stated that the group did not know that the one who had given them a experience earlier was below an investigation for theft.
In response to a report by WMAQ-TV, an NBC-affiliated TV station, Baczek’s mom, Missy Maczek, stated she known as up the police chief to complain in regards to the incident.
She reportedly stated, “I used to be outraged. I used to be very upset. I felt like we have been being outcasted as a result of we’re white, which is simply exceptional.”
On Tuesday afternoon, Missy was known as to the police station the place Somerville apologized to her. “I actually imagine the chief means it,” stated Missy after the apology.
When requested if she was happy with the apology, she stated, “Undoubtedly.”