PIEDMONT -- A Piedmont resident is claiming that police harassed her two sons and two of their friends Sunday and has filed a complaint alleging racial profiling.
Police Chief Rikki Goede received the complaint Monday from Ginger Wilson, of Lake Avenue, in a sealed envelope. Goede said she spoke to Wilson on Monday and immediately started an investigation into the incident using an outside consultant.
"Any allegations are taken very seriously, and appropriate actions will be taken," Goede said. "Our officers are trained to assess the activity, not the person. Racial profiling is not consistent with the values of our police department."
Three of the teens involved are African-American, and one is Latino. Wilson, in emails sent to media outlets on Sunday, said her older son, 18, was backing the family car out of the driveway while her 13-year-old son and two friends waited to get into the car about 11:30 a.m. Sunday.
She said a Piedmont police officer pulled up and blocked her son's car in the driveway. The officer got out and asked her 13-year-old son and the two 17-year-old friends for their identification. He also asked the 18-year-old driver to put the car in park, step out of the car, provide his driver's license and get down on the curb.
The boys all attend Piedmont schools. Wilson explained that the two friends had spent the night at her house. The boys complied with the officer's request. They were not carrying anything; one boy had an envelope with a check inside, Wilson said. Wilson called the incident humiliating.
Goede said she could not comment on any specifics of the incident, other than to say the matter is taken very seriously and that an investigation is under way. She said in smaller departments with limited resources such as Piedmont an outside investigator is called upon.
Piedmont police took diversity training in 2011 after another incident of alleged racial profiling when two African-American Piedmont High students were stopped and questioned walking down the street. Goede said the officer is going about his regular duties while the investigation takes place.