Allegations of racial profiling and discrimination once again reared their head in the aftermath of the arrest of 12-year-old Evanston, Illinois resident, Iain Bady. Watch Iain speak on the incident above.
Young Iain was taken into custody on July 14th after he and a female friend were seen sharing a ride on another boy’s bicycle when the vehicle drove through a red light, causing a couple of cars to stop short. Police officers who observed the incident then followed Bady into a Starbucks where they arrested him, despite the fact that he had not been the one controlling the bike at the time.
Even though Iain’s older sister was working downtown not far away from the Starbucks, officers decided to take the child to the police station instead where he was given a citation for “obstructing motor traffic” that will go on his permanent record.
Iain’s father, Robert Bady was then called into the station to pick him up, and asked to sign an official document in order to secure the release of his son.
While Robert was initially told that this was just an informal procedure and that his son had only been taken into protective custody. He later found out that he had in fact signed a formal station adjustment which would result in the case being referred to juvenile court, requiring Bady to retain an attorney for the matter.
Mr. Bady, a previous candidate for alderman in the city’s 8th ward, expressed his disbelief regarding the whole ordeal at a city council meeting.
“I realize and recognize we need [the] police. But why are we arresting a 12-year-old?…I’m not saying my son wasn’t doing anything wrong by riding on the back of a bike across the street, …[but] My son wasn’t kicking, he wasn’t shooting, he wasn’t spitting on an officer. He was just standing.”
Said Bady, referring to the circumstances in which his son was arrested at the Starbucks. Bady went on to draw a clear connection between the arrest and Iain’s race.
“The connection for me with all of the arrests was they all happened to be African-American…I hate to make it that, but it’s just very obvious here.”
Watch Robert Bady speak below:
With the facts at hand, it’s pretty hard to argue otherwise after all Chicago ordinances state the bicycle violations should be punished by a warning, ticket or fine based on the previous history of the offender. Considering Iain is 12 years old, we think it’s pretty clear that arresting him for not even driving the bike is a gross misreading of the law.
The Eddington Police Department has launched an internal investigation into the arrest and city officials such as 2nd ward alderman Peter Braithwaite have issued personal apologies to the family saying:
“I could not imagine in my worst nightmares having to deal with these circumstances…Under no circumstances does this begin to live up to Evanston standards.”