South Suburban Dad Says Police Treated Him Like Suspect After He Rushed Out To Help Son

HOMEWOOD, Ill. (CBS) — A south suburban father said he raced to find his son, who had called home saying he was being chased this past weekend.

But when he found his son, Keith Powell told CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov he was met with a wall of officers and treated like a suspect.

The Powell family is concerned that police did not take the potential threat their son’s safety seriously – thus failing to do their jobs.

As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reported Tuesday night, 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 claim was refuted on scene.

“I wasn’t recording them,” the boy is heard saying.

Such a recording also isn’t illegal.

“Figure out what happened instead of, you know, blaming him – one against eight, and he’s running. They automatically assumed that we were the agitators in the situation,” Keith Powell said.

“It was totally appalling,” Sonya Powell added.

Mrs. Powell said even more appalling was that Homewood police never filed a report or took down the other boys’ names when she called to follow up.

“Just as you question the one side, you make sure you do the same amount of questioning for the others,” she said.

The Powells would like an apology and a formal report about this incident.

Kozlov reached out to the Homewood Police Department late Tuesday afternoon. She left a voicemail for the chief and spoke directly who a dispatcher, detailing exactly why she was calling and asking that she pass the message along to the deputy chief.

As of Tuesday night, there had been no response.

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