FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. (KMOV.com) -- A Metro East police detective is speaking out after he believes his son was racially profiled by a neighboring department.
The East St. Louis detective filed a formal complaint against Fairview Heights police on behalf of his 17-year-old son. Detective Orlando Ward says he knows the law and thinks his son’s rights were clearly violated.
Ward's son was involved in a traffic stop by Fairview Heights Police on October 7th near St. Clair Square. According to Ward, three officers and a K9 were involved in the stop. Officers did not find anything in the young driver's vehicle. He was just a teen out past curfew with a busted license plate lamp.
Ward says he is a proud father. His son’s football photo and ACT score (a 28) are posted in his office at the East St. Louis Police Department.
So when Orlando Junior got pulled over in Fairview Heights on his way home from a Belleville East homecoming party, Ward went looking for more details to discipline his son.
“I went up there as a father, not a policeman,” Ward said.
What he found was what he believes to be racial profiling and an illegal search of his son’s car.
“They made him take off his shoes and whatnot, for what reason I still don’t know. They patted him down, didn’t find anything, then made him sit on the bumper of the car while they searched inside his car and the trunk of his car,” Ward said. “Not one time did they get consent to search his car, and no reason should they have searched that car.”
In the end, the teen was given a warning for a busted registration lamp and cited for a curfew violation.
Ward says he’ll take care of those. He says he never asked police for favors, just the report and the officer’s dash cam video, but Fairview Heights police would not allow it.
News 4 asked to interview Fairview Heights police for their side of the story, but they refused. The only comment they made was to say they are investigating the claim.
“I just wish it would stop. Just because you see an African American up there, stop pulling them over just because they’re African American,” Ward said.
Under the Freedom of Information Act, News 4 has requested to see that dash cam video. Illinois State Police, who are not part of this investigation, confirm that any search inside a vehicle must come with the driver’s consent or a warrant. In this case, Ward says the police had neither.