My Name is Jesse Caver, I’m writing this letter in regard to my rights as an African American man having been violated by the University of Illinois At Chicago Police Department.
On Friday January 13, 2012, this particular day I decided to walk to work for an early appointment I had scheduled with Human Resources at Rush University Medical Center. I was walking along Harrison Avenue a route that I have often traveled to work when I noticed that a U.I.C. police car had suddenly made a u-turn in my direction. Not knowing what was going on I continued on my walk to work. Within moments my path was obstructed and I was surrounded by U.I.C. officers. When I asked why I was being stopped, they asked me where I came from- as opposed to responding to my question.
Although, I had done nothing other than travel my usual route to the office I felt that something was wrong by the manner in which I was being addressed and detained. So, I explained to the officers that I was on my way to work; I also displayed my work badge. In addition to my work badge the officers asked to see my State ID which I showed them. I thought the fact that I was wearing my work uniform would have been sufficient enough- along with my work badge- if identity is what they needed to confirm.
Next, an officer took both my work badge and my State ID to the squad car. At this juncture not a single officer present had troubled to respond to my question or otherwise inform me as to why I was being detained. I had no idea what was going on, only that I was going to be late for work and I needed to leave. The officers then came back and said everything cleared but asked me more questions about the campus. Due to fact I have walked this path plenty of times all I could tell them was that I live in the South Loop area and this is the way I walk to work often.
Without warning the officers began treating me like a criminal. They seized my bags and began to search through them haphazardly. Their searched continued on my person as they searched through and poked around in the pockets of the items of clothes I was wearing. After the officers had searched my possessions and my body I was ordered to put my hands where they could see them on the squad car.
By now, I noticed a total of three U.I.C police cars surrounding me. A fourth car arrived on the scene occupying a young Caucasian lady whom at that time I had never seen before. The officers told me to turn around and face the police car obtaining the lady.
I proceeded to do what I was told by the officers, the lady looked at me and stated: ‘that is him he is the black man that came out of the building around my office.’ Just as soon as the young lady had made her accusation, I was handcuffed tightly and roughly shoved into one of the officer’s police cars. I stated to the officer that I did not come from anywhere by U.I.C and that I was only walking down Harrison Ave to go to work.
Until the young lady falsely accused me I had no idea why I was being detained my rights were never read to me and even then I still did not know the specifics of what supposedly had been done. I was well past late for work at this point and not a single officer would respect my pleas, listen to my explanations or offer any information about what was going on and why. As a result of the felonious claim and harassment I began to find it difficult to breathe. I was suffering a panic attack due to the fact I was being subjected to abuse by the officers because I was walking and I am a black man who the lady thought she saw.
When I arrived to the U.I.C. police station one of the officers stated I should just confess to the crime. He was trying to convince me to confess to crime that I have not committed and knew no such information on what crime was committed.
Now at this point I was feeling that racial profiling was playing a part here. I asked them to call my job and they could tell them that I worked there and that I should be at work. The officers wanted to hear nothing like that, I also told them where I lived and they could check with the front desk who would tell them that I just left my building. The officers still refused and said no.
After that I was told I was being arrested for trespassing and I have to go to court the next morning. Now I was being held at U.I.C police department for several hours and then transported to Harrison and Kedzie Police department for finger printing, and held until court at 26th and California the next day were I would appear for court in front of a judge.
This incident has changed my life. My job is now in jeopardy due to a no call/ no show because I was falsely arrested on this day. I have to take time off from work to go back and forth to court for a crime I did not commit. I have suffered sleepless nights due to the abuse I was subjected to that day. I am suffering stress due to financial strains necessary to obtain legal representation regarding what has become an on-going court matter.