Lake Villa Police Detective Esteban Gomez has been disciplined after a video went viral showing him detaining a group of teens leaving a pawn shop, shouting at them, and when asked why, answered: “because you’re white”.
“Detective Gomez admitted his words were poorly chosen and insensitive, and he immediately regretted what he had said,” Somerville said in a statement posted on the department’s Facebook page. “He will be assisting me with speaking to the parents and teens involved in this incident. I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what is depicted on this video.”
The teen who posted it, Dezi Baczek, stated on Facebook: “Once again detective Gomez of the lake villa police dept. is discriminating us because we are “white”/ we had no drugs on us we where at the pawn shop and when we walked out we were yelled at to sit down …. Everything that happened from then on is in this video •SHARE• just wanna make it clear all of us sitting down did not do anything wrong we were with someone who got into trouble and we didn’t know anything about it till that point. Also I went to the shop to pawn something so my little brother could go and buy this book he has been wanting to get !!! (Only thing that had happened before I thought of recording was we had been told to sit down with out any reasoning)”
As reported by RT:
Dezi Baczek, 18, who recorded a video of the incident and posted it online, said that when they left the pawn shop, the officer made them all sit down “without any reasoning.”
“I was yelled at to sit down,” Baczek told WMAQ. “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.”
Baczek said that she began recording just after they were told to sit down.
“You think you’re a tough guy?” Gomez yells.
“What, are you going to hit me?” the teen asks.
“No! Why would I hit you?” Gomez responds.
“Because you’re screaming at me,” the teen says.
Gomez then turns to all the teens and asks them which one of them has “the weed on them?”
The teens laugh at the question, at which point Gomez walks away. While he is walking to another car, one of the teens in the video can be heard asking Gomez why they are being detained.
“Because I’m a teen? Because I have baggy pants?” one of the teens asks.
“Because you’re white,” Gomez replies.