HOMEWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — Homewood police on Wednesday addressed an incident in which a father rushed to find his son who had called him to say he was being chased, and the father then claimed officers treated him like a suspect.
Police said around 7:45 p.m. Sunday, officers responded to the 1900 block of Sycamore Road for a possible fight. An anonymous caller had said there were several people gathered and there was concern they were going to start a fight.
Upon arriving, police said they found an adult man standing at Highland Avenue and Olive Road, yelling at a group of teenage boys in the corner. The man said his son was being chased by the teenagers, and police said officers interviewed the man, his son, the teenage boys, and some independent witnesses.
Police said they learned that the man’s son “was involved with an unknown incident at Irwin Park and had been chased until his father located him.” The man said he had not seen anyone chasing his son, but did find and confront the teens standing at the corner.
The man, Keith Powell, characterized the events differently to CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov on Tuesday. Powell said he was concerned that police did not take the potential threat their son’s safety seriously.
Cellphone video shows Powell surrounded by Homewood police officers in the street amid the sound of evening cicadas.
Officers pepper Powell and his 13-year-old son with questions as Powell’s son records it. Nearby stand a group of teenagers – the same group of boys that Powell’s son claims had been chasing him near Irwin Park minutes earlier – prompting a call home for help.
“Frantic. He’s stuttering and nervous and just sounds scared,” Powell said.
Powell said he drove to find his son, and was confronting the high school boys when police showed up. But he said officers’ questions were directed only at him.
“You would have thought that my husband and my son were the perpetrators,” said Powell’s wife, Sonya Powell.
The high schoolers who allegedly threatened the Powells’ son were left standing alone. Further, the teens that the Powells’ son said were chasing him were white, while the Powells are African-American.
“Had that been a group of black teenagers chasing a one Caucasian child, what would have been the due process?” Sonya Powell said.
The Powells, who didn’t want their son on camera, said Homewood officers were dismissive, at best – focused only on the high school boys’ claim their son was recording them. The boy said on the video he was not recording anyone, and such a recording isn’t illegal.
Police said they thoroughly investigated the incident using information obtained from all parties, body cams and in-car cameras. They concluded that no law was violated and told the boy’s mother as much, police said.