The McHenry Police Department closed an investigation into claims that a McHenry man was racially profiled during a traffic stop after finding out that the man fabricated the situation.
In a June 6 Facebook post, McHenry’s Maggie Mohr wrote that her son, Maki Mohr, who is Black, was making his nightly drive to work when he was pulled over by the police for “suspicious activity.” Maggie Mohr wrote that her son said the officer wouldn’t answer him when Maki Mohr asked what the suspicious activity was.
According to a police report, Sgt. Nicholas Clesen of the McHenry Police Department was made aware of this post June 8, and interviewed Maggie and Maki Mohr about it. Clesen and McHenry Police Detective Robert Roske also tried to obtain video surveillance footage of the interaction from businesses near where the alleged traffic stop occurred, but none was found.
When Clesen made contact with area police departments, he found that no local agency had made the stop.
Eventually, Maki told his mother and the police that the stop never happened.
Because Maki Mohr didn’t personally report the situation to police, and officers responded only to a “concerning social media post” made by his mother, no charges will be sought for making a false report, according to the police report.
Mark Mohr, Maggie Mohr’s husband, said on his and his wife’s behalf, that they were “grieved” that their son had done this.
Having raised four kids of color throughout the past 24 years, the parents have witnessed countless experiences of prejudice against their children, they said.
“It breaks our heart that we are in this situation, and we are deeply sorry,” Mark Mohr said. “We truly appreciate the care and grace that [Sgt.] Clesen of the McHenry Police Department has shown to Maki and our family.”
Maki Mohr said he wants to sincerely apologize to the community and his family for what he did, although he knows an apology isn’t enough.
“My behavior is inexcusable,” he said. “It might take another 20 years to gain back the trust of my friends and family, but I’m willing to do the work.”
Lying has been a lifelong struggle for Maki Mohr, who said he “hit rock bottom” when he lied about the traffic stop, which he emphasized had nothing to do with his family.
“My parents have done a great job of raising me [and] my siblings,” he said. “This wasn’t because of my mom and dad. ... This isn’t because of my siblings. This is 100% me.”
The reason his mom initially wrote about the alleged situation on Facebook was because she wanted to protect him, Maki Mohr said.
“My family has always had my back in this situation,” he said. “They’re great.”
While Maki Mohr has been going to counseling since his senior year of high school, he never has dealt with his lying issues, he said. Recently he talked to his counselor about it and is starting to work through those problems.
“I didn’t want media attention. I just wanted attention from my parents,” Maki Mohr said. “When my mom made that post, I was frustrated because I knew it had spiraled out of control. I knew there was no way back.”
However, he knew he owed his mother and his community the truth.
“I understand how messed up it was, especially with what’s going on in the world,” Maki Mohr said, adding that he feels bad about potentially taking credibility away from those in the Black community who are victims of racial profiling.
Along with counseling, Maki Mohr said he also has recently taken up meditation and is reading the Bible to help him with his struggle.
Last year, Maki Mohr said, he lost connection with God, as he was so focused on being a basketball player that he didn’t have time for anything else.
Now, he is trying to reconnect with his faith and do what he can to make things right, partly by studying Bible passages about repentance.
“I read Psalm 51 every morning,” Maki Mohr said.
In a statement, Police Chief John Birk of the McHenry Police Department said the McHenry community is “one large family,” which the Mohrs are part of unconditionally.
“All families should avoid judgment but embrace growth and learning as we have been doing together,” Birk said. “As our community moves forward, the men and women of the McHenry Police Department are honored for the continued opportunities to: strengthen our relationships, build trust and support and improve upon ourselves as we serve McHenry. Hand in hand and side by side is how a community grows.”