A law and business student from Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood believes he was racially profiled when officers confronted him while he was entering the back gate of his apartment building last year.
“I’m in a neighborhood that’s predominately white and affluent,” he said. “I don’t think there is any other way to describe what happened to me.”
Jay Trewn says he was confronted by officers on May 3, 2019 just after 10 a.m. He was heading to his apartment building, just blocks from Wrigley Field, when he heard a voice.
“I hear a ‘hey you,’ shout, but I didn’t necessarily pay it any mind,” he said.
The voice came from Chicago police officers, who he says followed him through another gate.
“They started to ask me ‘what are you doing back here? We’re getting reports of someone breaking into houses back here,’” he recounted. “That’s when the whole dialogue started about ‘are you talking to me?’”
Trewn says the officers then demanded that he show them his identification. He refused, saying that he knew legally he didn’t have to show the officers his ID, and he walked up the stairs to his second floor apartment.
“I’m really grateful that it didn’t escalate any further,” he said. “I think it was just one or two miscues or misunderstandings that could have led to something way more tragic.”
Trewn and his wife filed a complaint with the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, and also made a Freedom of Information Act request for the police report and body camera footage from the incident. More than 12 months later, the couple has still received nothing.
“A year later, we have no answers, no accountability, and no justice, and I just can’t accept that,” Trewn’s wife Lindsay said.
The Chicago Police Department said in a statement that it was prohibited from commenting on the incident due to the ongoing investigation by COPA.
Later this week, a march is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. at Lakeview Lutheran Church. Protesters will demand that aldermen in the 43rd and 44th wards to demand that they support the Civilian Police Accountability Council.