The father of Miles Maiden, one of the boys who was allegedly Tasered by an off-duty Kankakee Police department officer at his Junior high school refutes his ex-wife's claims that the incident was racially motivated.
Adrian Maiden concedes that officer Lonnie Netzel made a serious judgement error by using his weapon on a 12-year-old, but he says he knows the incident wasn't borne of bigotry, as a lawsuit, filed last week in Kankakee claims.
"I know officer Netzel personally from bowling and some recreational leagues," Maiden said. "I know his personality and it’s not racially motivated for sure."
Maiden's ex-wife, Alta Young, says different.
"The fact that the officer only used did this to minority students leads me to believe it was racially motivated," she said.
Young's lawsuit, one of two filed over the incident seeks $1 million in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.
"This was abuse, and it was perpetrated upon students of color and only students of color," Young's lawyer, James Rowe said in a statement.
Proving that racism had anything to do with the incident, in which Netzel allegedly entered a classroom in Kankakee Junior High School and asked students "Who wants a Taser?" could be difficult.
Kankakee Junior High School is made up of 57 percent black students and just 20 percent white, according to statistics released by the State of Illinois.
Rowe says he stands by the lawsuit. He also wants officer Netzel fired and criminal charges filed in the case. Teachers Teresa LaReau and Jessica Labon are also named.
"Shocking two 12-year-olds with a taser gun for no reason is reprehensible and criminal," Rowe said.