Residents voice concerns over Joliet Police investigation
An internal investigation of the Joliet Police Department over alleged use of force related to a June 7 case remains open, police said.
At a recent meeting of the Joliet City Council, Ranisah Brown and her 13-year-old son, Billy Bailey, Jr., approached city officials to express their concerns for an incident involving alleged use of force exhibited by members of the Joliet Police Department.
“In this city, I don’t feel safe,” Bailey said. “On June 7, the police had put a gun to my back. … When the police put the gun to my back, I felt like my life was in danger because as you can see on the news, cops are killing teens, such Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and LaQuan McDonald.”
Joliet Police responded at about 9 a.m. June 7 to the home of Bailey’s grandmother, Trista Brown.
She told The Times Weekly that she questions the actions of the police to issue a warrant yielding no names on it for entry into her home.
Bailey remembers at the time feeling scared, sad, traumatized and terrified.
“I was crying,” he told the council.
Bailey continued, “Do you guys think it’s okay to put a gun to a minor that doesn’t pose a threat?”
Brown told The Times Weekly that while she was placed into handcuffs, four members of the police department had drawn their guns at her grandson.
No one else was present in the home at the time of the incident.
Joliet Police declined to comment on the matter this week, saying that an investigation is open.
Bailey spoke of an exchange of words he had shared with an officer for the Joliet Police Department at the time of the incident and referred to it as uncalled for.
“The first question Sgt. Mayes had asked me was, do I play basketball?” he recalled. “I feel that he only asked me that because I was African American. In their eyes, African Americans are only good at sports, but little do they know that I am an ‘A’-‘B’ honor roll student. I just wish that they could change the way they act toward a minor.”
Joliet Police had approached Bailey’s grandmother at the time of the incident treating her in a manner, he said, was deemed disrespectful.
“My grandmother was in the house doing what they told her, and they still acted rude toward her,” Bailey said.
Bailey’s mother, Ranisah Brown, said they have since filed a complaint against members of the police department involved in the incident.
Joliet Police reviewed the complaint and went on to declare that no excessive use of force was used.
Brown said she is not content with the outcome of the internal investigation, and the family is weighing its options.
“[My son] doesn’t pose a threat to anyone,” Brown said. “The police were actually able to come in the house. They were let in. There were no issues; There were no concerns, but for the excessive force on a child. That’s traumatizing.”
Brown added that her son and her mother were cooperative throughout the process.
Bailey said he doesn’t like how Joliet Police turn to area schools trying to control the public’s perception of the department.
“I feel there needs to be a change in Will County starting off with me,” he said.