Edwardsville councilman accused of making racist statements
A newly elected Edwardsville City Council member is being investigated after a teen says he made threats and called her racial slurs in a May 3 incident in Bonner Springs.
A Bonner Springs teenager and her boyfriend say the incidents occurred after a near car accident with Chuck Stites, who was elected to the council on April 7. The Bonner Springs Police Department took the report and sent it to the Kansas Bureau of Investigations, which has not yet released the information. At Monday’s Edwardsville City Council meeting, members of the public demanded Stites step down from his post, though he made no comment. Prior to the meeting, he told members of the news media he didn't think he should make a statement about the incident.
“What I’m going to say is that I think it’s all a big misunderstanding, and that it's being investigated, and I think it would not be appropriate to comment until the investigation is completed. I need to step into the meeting,” Stites told FOX 4 television.
Terra Chatmon told The Chieftain last week that the incident began when her daughter, Kali Chatmon, 17, was leaving the Bonner Springs Price Chopper, attempting to turn onto Kansas Avenue. She said Stites, headed west on Kansas Avenue, had his turn signal on, so Kali began to turn, but Stites continued to go straight, and they nearly collided.
Kali immediately got out to apologize, Terra Chatmon said, but Stites called her the “b-word” and the “n-word,” and told her boyfriend to “go back to Baltimore.” Kali then saw Stites park near Twisters Grill and Bar.
Terra Chatmon said when her daughter told her what happened, they decided to return to Twisters to seek an apology from Stites. There, she said Stites made further threats, including mentioning that he was a police officer.
In his biographical information provided to The Chieftain as he ran for office, Stites noted that he was a retired Kansas City, Kan., police officer and now works for Schlitterbahn Waterpark as a liaison with the Unified Government.
Terra Chatmon said when they learned Stites was a city councilman, they felt they had to make a police report and take the information public.
“It could have very well been different if he had just apologized,” Terra Chatmon said.
Terra Chatmon said she had notified both Schlitterbahn and the Unified Government of the incident.
In a statement, KBI spokesman Special Agent Mark Malick told Fox 4 that more information would be released once the investigation was complete.
At Monday’s council meeting, the Chatmons made a formal complaint and Olliea Jarrett, president of the Bonner Springs-Edwardsville Chapter of the NAACP, asked that Stites step down from his seat. Stites did not make a comment during the meeting.
Stites received the most votes of the five candidates running for three at-large City Council seats in last month’s election.