A suburban Chicago police officer has been disciplined after a video went viral showing him yelling at a group of teenagers, threatening to arrest them and saying they were being detained based on their race.
On Tuesday, Lake Villa Police Chief Craig Somerville said an officer was conducting a theft investigation when he ordered five teenagers to sit down on the curb.
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.
The video opens with Lake Villa Police Detective Esteban Gomez threatening to arrest one of the teens.
“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.