Edwardsville councilman releases statement after KBI closes investigation
Stites denies using racial slurs in exchange with teenager
An Edwardsville City Councilman is sharing his side of the story after the KBI reported it had wrapped up an investigation into allegations that he used racial slurs and threats.
A KBI spokesman Thursday said the information gathered in the investigation into a May 3 incident between Councilman Chuck Stites and a local teen in Bonner Springs would be turned over to the Wyandotte County District Attorney’s Office early next week.
Mark Malick, KBI special agent in charge, said the evidence was being turned over to the district attorney. He said the information was just a listing of the facts gathered in the investigation, and the District Attorney’s Office would decide if those facts warrant charges and what charges should be filed.
Kali Chatmon, 17, said that Stites verbally berated her following a near-accident by the Bonner Springs Price Chopper, calling her the “n” word and “b” word as she was trying to apologize. She and her parents said when they later met with Stites seeking an apology at Twisters Grill and Bar, Stites further threatened them.
Previously, Stites had said he would not make a statement while the investigation was ongoing, only saying that it was a misunderstanding and he did not intend to step down from his elected position, as the Chatmon family and the Bonner Springs NAACP branch had asked him to do at Edwardsville City Council meetings.
Thursday, he released the following statement:
"On Sunday May 3, my wife, my son and I were meeting up with the rest of my family to have dinner at Twister’s in Bonner Springs because my son was getting ready to fly back to Hawaii after having been in town on a short leave from the Marine Corps. As we were getting ready to pull into the parking lot, a vehicle started to pull onto Kansas Avenue from Commercial Drive and I swerved to avoid getting hit. I thought we had been hit so I stopped and got out of my vehicle to look at the damage. It turns out we hadn’t actually gotten hit; a lawn chair had just fallen over in the back of my vehicle, which made it sound like we had.
“When I got out of my vehicle the young lady driving the other vehicle laid on her horn the entire time and the young man with her started yelling things at me and telling me to get out of the way. I responded but I absolutely did not say the horrible things I have been accused of saying.
“After I realized that I hadn’t been hit, we went on to Twisters and the other vehicle went on its way. But after we had parked, the two teenagers drove back by and the young man again yelled at my family as we were going into the restaurant. Again, at no point did I say any of the things I have been accused of saying or anything even remotely close.
As we were in the restaurant and were waiting for our food to arrive, the two teens and what appeared to be the young lady’s parents came to our table and confronted us with accusations that I had made racist remarks to their daughter. I knew that wasn’t true and we didn’t want the situation to escalate any further, so my father called the police. I think somebody from Twisters called the police as well, and my understanding is that they may also have a video.
“I know I did nothing wrong, and I think the whole situation was a big misunderstanding. I thought I had gotten hit so I got out of my vehicle to take a look. They knew they didn’t hit me, so they probably thought I was making too big of a deal out of the situation. The teenagers honked their horn and yelled at me because they didn’t think I should have gotten out of my vehicle, and I responded back because I didn’t think I needed to be honked and yelled at. I’m just glad that there was no accident and that nobody in either vehicle was hurt.
“I have cooperated with the investigation and told the authorities what happened. I have no idea why the young lady is accusing me of making racist remarks. I absolutely did not say those things and would never say anything like that. That simply isn’t the kind of person I am and I think anyone who knows me, including the many people who have worked with me over the years, would confirm that.”