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Recording captures officer detaining teen 'because you're white'

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Posted at 9:42 PM, Nov 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-28 21:42:16-05

A viral video published on Facebook on Monday showed a suburban Chicago police officer claiming to have detained a teenager for being white. 

According to WMAQ-TV, Dezi Baczek said she and her friends were leaving a pawn shop to sell an item when they were approached by a detective from the Lake Villa, Illinois Police Department. Baczek, and a group of her fellow teenage friends, were detained by the officer.

“I was yelled at to sit down,” Baczek told WMAQ. “I said, ‘What’s the reason?’ And he said sit down or I could turn around and be arrested, so I sat down at that point.”

Baczek began recording Monday's incident. 

“Because I’m a teen? Because I have baggy pants?” someone in the video said. 

“Because you’re white,” the officer said. 

Lake Villa Police Chief Craig Somerville identified the detective as Esteban Gomez. Somerville said the teens were with a suspect in a theft investigation. One of the teens was cited for obstructing police for giving a false name. 

Somerville said that Gomez admitted that his words were poorly chosen and regretted what he had said.

“When the subject questioned Gomez about his arrest, Gomez reacted by answering the teen's inquiry with an inappropriate response,” Somerville said in a statement posted on the department's Facebook page.

Somerville said in the statement that Gomez will be disciplined for Monday's incident. 

"I apologize to anyone who may have been offended by what is depicted on this video," Somerville's statement read. "This occurred on my watch and I assume full responsibility."

Click HERE to watch video of the incident (Note: video contains offensive language).