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Reverend Who Got Bike Ticket to Hold Press Conference

Reverend Michael James of Evanston claims he was racially profiled by Glencoe Police after calling police to complain about treatment he received during a bike citation. He says other bicyclists who rode through the area were not cited.

Reverend Michael James of Evanston, , says he was treated unfairly the day he was cited.

“There was nothing I was doing to break the law. I was concentrating on getting into shape to run the marathon with my daughter,” James said. “I actually stopped and began to stretch right near the police car before I was going to head back.”

James, who is African American, said Lieutenant Betsy Seno, who issued him the $25 citation for biking through a Sheridan Road construction area was, “viciously angry” in her treatment towards him.

“While she was giving me the ticket, there were four white bikers that casually came right by us, uncontested,. I was like, wait a minute,” James said. 

After the ticket was issued, James says he witnessed other people on bicycles who rode past the lieutenant and were not pursued by her.

Police Chief Michael Volling said Lieutenant Seno stated she was focused on dealing with James and does not recall seeing any other bicyclists ride by.  . 

. James admits he saw them, but since he is not from Glencoe, was unfamiliar with how to navigate to the detours.

“The sign was for people that knew where Green Bay Road was, I simply proceeded and didn’t go all the way through,” James said. 

When asked what he would like to achieve through a press conference he plans for 11 a.m. this morning, outside of the Glencoe Police station, James said he wants to raise consciousness about racial profiling. 

“I believe suburban police need culture-sensitivity training, and other people are coming forward to me saying they have been profiled as well,” James said. 

What happened after James received the citation is a matter of concern for him. 

“I called the Glencoe police immediately after getting home and asked specifically to talk to the chief; once I said the words racial profiling, now people want to play games with me,” James said. 

James said the dispatcher who answered the call asked him if he would like a call back from Lieutenant Seno, he said yes and gave his contact information. 

“I never received a call from the lieutenant,” James said. 

Volling also said Thursday that Seno attempted to contact James, but was unsuccessful.

James said he called Volling on Monday and became frustrated the chief wasn’t made aware of the situation.

“I feel insulted by this whole thing, quit playing games. If someone does something wrong, they need to apologize,” James said.

Since the incident, Volling said he has tried to contact James several times, which James concedes did happen.

“I have not been able to talk with him. On Saturday (June 30) I would have accepted an apology, but then I got the run-around,” he said.

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