Watch CBS News

Contractor demands action after Berwyn city employee admitted to yelling racial slurs at him on the job

Contractor furious after Berwyn city employee admitted to yelling racial slurs at him on the job
Contractor furious after Berwyn city employee admitted to yelling racial slurs at him on the job 03:16

BERWYN, Ill. (CBS) -- A City of Berwyn employee is now under investigation after police said she admitted to yelling racial slurs at a man while on the job – and while driving a city vehicle.

As CBS 2's Marissa Perlman reported Tuesday night, that man is calling for justice.

The striking tale is spelled out in a police report – all of the events having happened just a block away from City Hall.

The city employee is also a Berwyn South School District board member. And the man whom she yelled at spoke with us because he worries it could all happen to someone else.

"It's just not about me," said Phillip Robbin. "It's about everybody else that she looks at like that."

Robbin was hired in May to remove a tree from a property in Berwyn. He was working in an alley behind a residential block.

According to Berwyn police, a City of Berwyn car pulled up. The driver - identified as Sarah Lopez – started yelling at Phillip to move his work truck from the alley.

"She kept screaming at me," Robbin said.

Robbin showed us a permit from the city that allowed him to work and park in the alley. He said after he turned his back to continue working, the confrontation got worse.

"She was like, 'You cannot turn your back on me, you f***ing n*****,'" Robbin said. "I said, 'Excuse me?'"

After Robbin removed his truck, police said it was Robbin who first called them to the scene. CBS 2 obtained the police report.

The responding officer writes in the police report: "I asked Sarah if there was any name calling involved and Sarah related to me, 'Yes I called him a n***** and then made the statement, 'I am so sick and tired of these people.'"

"A city official with that authority should not be able to treat people like this," Robbin said.

Lopez works as a blight inspector with the Berwyn Buildings Department, and was on patrol during the incident. She is still on the job, and she is also listed as an active member of the school board.

CBS 2's Perlman went to Berwyn City Hall to try to find out what, if anything, is being done. An administrator with the city said the case is under internal investigation through the Mayor's office, and they couldn't comment further.

Robbin and his lawyer had a sit-down with Mayor Robert Lovero, who apologized.

"He told us he took care of the situation," Robbin said. "He gave her a verbal reprimand, and he's apologizing to me – and that was that."

"Is that enough?" Perlman asked Robbin.

"No," he replied, "not even close."

Robbin is now hoping the city employee and school board member – who he says should be held to a higher standard – will be held accountable.

"It's not right," Robbin said. "I just want to be treated fair."

We did speak with Lopez by phone. She told us she could not comment on the police report, but did confirm she works for the city and the school board.

We want to be clear – Lopez is not facing any charges. It is also not clear if the school board is aware of the internal investigation or complaint.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.