A police officer was filmed in Lake Villa, Illinois, telling a teenager that he was being detained “because you’re white.”
Dezi Baczek, who filmed the incident, told WMAQ that she was with friends at a pawn shop where they had gone to sell an item.
According to Baczek, the cop approached them after they exited the pawn shop:
I was yelled at to sit down. I said, “What’s the reason?” And he said sit down or I could turn around and be arrested, so I sat down at that point.
According to police, the cop was investigating a theft, which none of the young people were guilty of.
An unidentified teen asked the cop why he was being detained: “Because I’m a teen? Because I have baggy pants?”
The cop replied, “Because you’re white.”
“I was speechless,” Baczek recalled. “Like I wasn’t comprehending what he actually said for a minute.”
Lake Villa Police Chief Craig Somerville identified the cop as Detective Esteban Gomez.
Somerville said one of the young people gave Gomez a false name, and was charged with obstructing police (which had nothing to do with the original investigation):
When the subject questioned Gomez about his arrest, Gomez reacted by answering the teens [sic] inquiry with an inappropriate response.
Det. Gomez admitted his words were poorly chosen and insensitive and he immediately regretted what he had said. The Lake Villa Police Department does not condone this type of behavior of its officers.
Contrary to Somerville’s claim, Gomez actually admitted to racial profiling, which is illegal.
Somerville said that Gomez was disciplined “for behavior unbecoming an officer,” but refused to say what the discipline was.