An Illinois state representative who is black said he was stopped by a police officer while leaving a store and wearing a mask and gloves.
In a series of tweets, Representative Kam Buckner (D-Chicago) said he was dressed casually, like most of the other shoppers on Sunday, when an officer asked to see his receipt and ID. Buckner complied.
When exiting the store I was approached by a uniformed officer who questioned the items in my cart. I explained to him I had just purchased them from the store he saw me walk out of. He asked to see my receipt, which was deep in my pocket. As I looked for it, he waited 5/16— Kam Buckner (@RepKamBuckner) May 4, 2020
He asked why he was stopped and said the officer told him, “People are using the coronavirus to do bad things. I couldn’t see your face, man. You looked like you were up to something.”
Buckner tweeted that, “As scores of masked people walked in and out without encumbrance I was reminded of the reality that I have been programmed to show as much of my face as possible and use certain cues to disarm anyone who might have a learned inclination to be suspicious of my very presence.” Chicago police issued a statement saying,”Based on the limited information supplied to the Chicago Police Department, we are currently unable to authenticate that this incident involved a CPD member.
“All investigatory stops must be predicated on reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur. Anyone who believes that they may have been treated unfairly can submit a complaint to a CPD supervisor, CPD’s Office of Internal Affairs and/or the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.”
Governor JB Pritzker weighed in on the incident Tuesday, saying, “It’s something that we’re looking into. We obviously believe that there is discriminatory behavior taking place here so we are going to try to make sure that we try to address it.”
Lieutenant Governor Juliana Stratton also commented, saying, “much work remains to be done on issues that pre-dated this pandemic and those that seem to be deepening each day.”