An Illinois state representative is speaking out after he says he was stopped by a Chicago police officer after shopping at a Bronzeville neighborhood store while wearing a mask.
“On my way out of the store, I was stopped by a uniformed police officer, who asked me some questions about some things in my cart,” State Rep. Kam Buckner (D-26) said.
Buckner posted a number of tweets about the incident on his Twitter account after the incident:
“I was dressed in a sweatshirt and shoes, with a mask and gloves on,” he said. “I told the officer I just got things from the store. Then he asked ‘can I see the receipt?’”
Buckner says his ID was checked, and when it was returned, he asked the police officer what led to him being questioned outside of the store.
“He said ‘I can’t see your face man,’” Buckner said. “‘And you look like you may be up to something.’”
CPD has not confirmed that a member of the force was involved in the stop, but said that all stops must be “predicated on reasonable suspicion.”
“All investigatory stops must be predicated on reasonable suspicion that a crime has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur,” the department said in a statement. “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.”
While the department continues to look into the incident, Buckner says he hopes that it can be turned into a teaching moment.
“With everybody wearing masks, it begs the question: what standards are you using to decide who is suspicious and who is not?” he asked. “We’re all on edge. We have to take the time to make sure that we aren’t letting our nerves, mixed with our biases, make us make bad decisions.”