LAKE VILLA, Ill. –A suburban police officer has been disciplined after the remarks he made while he detained a group of teenagers.
The incident happened on Monday in Lake Villa just after a hgroup of teens left a pawn shop following a report of a theft.
Detective Esteban Gomez, who was by himself, ordered the teens to sit on the curb.
One teen in the group then questioned the detective about why they were being detained. He asked if it was because they were teens or because they wear baggy pants. The detective’s response was “because they were white.”
The exchange was recorded on cell phone video by 18-year-old Dezi Baczek, who also posted the video on Facebook.
Five teens were involved. One of them was arrested for obstruction of justice for giving the officer a fake name.
After the incident, the detective told his boss who then conducted an internal investigation.
In a statement Chief Craig Somerville said in part, "Detective Gomez admitted his words were poorly chosen and insensitive and he immediately regretted what he had said. Our relationships are built upon mutual understanding and trust and this type of behavior contradicts that, and it will not be tolerated."
Baczek’s mother, Missy, who complained to the chief about what happened, believes her daughter and friends are routinely harassed by the Lake Villa Police Department and hopes things get better from here on out.
The police chief did not specify how the detective was disciplined.