When clty clerk candidate Devon Reid was arrested Sunday while seeking nominating petition signatures on a downtown Evanston street corner, it wasn’t his first encounter with police.

City officials placed two officers involved in Sunday’s arrest on paid administrative leave while the department investigates the incident. Reid says he was taken into custody after he refused to tell an officer his age.

Reid, 24, says he was also improperly arrested by Evanston police just over a year ago. That incident happened about 6:50 p.m. on Oct. 6, 2015, at 705 Howard St.

Reid says he and a friend were sitting in a car there when police — apparently suspecting the car was stolen — “stopped us and asked what were were doing.”

“We weren’t doing anything illegal,” Reid says. “The police searched us and the car and confirmed the car wasn’t stolen.”

“Then the police asked for my buddy’s and my names,” Reid says. “I refused to give my name and was placed under arrest.”

Reid argues that because the police had already established that no crime had been committed, they had no basis to arrest him for failing to give his name, and he says the charge of obstructing justice was later dismissed in court.

Three days later, on Oct. 9, 2015, Reid was also arrested — this time while driving in the McHenry County village of Lake in the Hills.

He was charged with driving on a suspended drivers license and operating an uninsured motor vehicle.

Reid says he knew he had an unpaid traffic ticket from a prior incident but wasn’t aware that his license had been suspended as a result.

He says he’s paid the fine for that, and has not tried to get his license reinstated yet — preferring for now to walk or use public transportation.

Related stories

What do you have to tell police? (12/2/16)

Candidate’s arrest sparks review of police policy (11/29/16)

How the candidate’s arrest played out (11/29/16)

Cops placed on leave after arresting candidate (11/28/16)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. What was his explanation about the insurance?
    Did Reid give an explanation for why he was driving without insurance? That is extremely irresponsible.

    1. Ironic

      It is a bit ironic that this gentlemen is running for city clerk which has the  responsibility of maintaining  the city of Evanstons records, books and papers. It appears he has difficulty maintaining his own personal records. I hope there are more responsible candidates running for this office.  

    2. I made a mistake and I apologize.

      When 9 out of 10 Evanstonians don't vote in our municipal elections I'm glad to see everyone engaged in civic discussion. Listen, I made a mistake and I won't defend it. If you have questions as to my qualification for office I'd love to address them personally. Any resident of Evanston may reach out to me for any concern, anytime. I believe in transparency and open government that starts at home – please, call me and let's talk about it (Cell 872-203-4291). 

      While only 24 I'm proud of the totality of my career and work. I'm a progressive candidate not just because I've read books about the struggles of marginalized folks, but because I've lived it and witnessed it. We need more people to stand up for our rights and demand a fair and inclusive government for all. So as I opened, I'm glad to address your concerns -just promise that you'll exercise your rights on April 4th, 2017 whoever you chose to support!

      1. Which action was a mistake?

        Neglecting a ticket?  Neglecting a ticket for so long that it resulted in your license being suspended?  Not knowing that your license was suspended?  Driving a car without insurance? Not giving your name to police in a previous situation?  Not giving your birth date in this most recent situation?  Or something else?

        Every time that I have come in contact with the Evanston police (called police about a safety concern, been a witness to something or when I was pulled over once but the officer recognized that I was not at fault and did not ticket me), they want my name, address  and birth date.  I give the information and there have been no problems.

        I know that we all have rights but then there is failing to act in a thoughtful way that de-escalates a situation.  This candidate has some good ideas but I question his maturity after what appear to be lapses in judgment that raise issues about attention to detail and maturity.

        I am hopeful that this candidate will demonstrate or at least explain how his skills and experience make him a good choice to be City Clerk.

      2. Why did you operate a motor vehicle without insurance?
        Thanks for your willingness to be transparent.

        In the interest of transparency can you explain why you were operating a motor vehicle without insurance?

    3. Reply

      Readers: do you not understand what harassment is? Why are you not asking why the police officer contacted these young men with clipboards in the first place?

      Why are you not asking why the police officer asked for a date of birth, when told that they were collecting petition signatures? What did she need to know beyond the fact that they were doing something not at all criminal?

      Wake up and face the reality, Evanston: our black community is over-policed leading to unnecessary contacts leading to 'criminalization' of folks who are doing nothing wrong.

      1. We should be proud of this young man

        Devon has admitted his mistake and is ready to move on. He was unnecessarily harassed. This is a common occurrence in the lives of our young black male neighbors. Let's support his desire to help drive positive change through established systems of civic engagement.

      2. Question for the investigation and the candidate writing here

        The police need to answer that question–why was contact made with this individual in the first place? I assume that they will provide that answer as part of the investigation as that information is highly relevant. 

        The candidate wrote here so we asked him questions that he can answer  I look forward to his response.

      3. The other young man with a

        The other young man with a clipboard was white, so it's hard to see how the overpolicing was a racial thing at that point.  The other young man gave his name and birthdate, and that was the end of it.  It would have been an easy example to follow.  While I believe there is racial bias among some police, I think police primarily overreact to people who disobey police orders.  I'm not saying that's a good thing.  But obeying police orders is usually the best policy.  Rarely will the outcome be better if you disobey police orders.  Most people of all races recognize that. 

  2. The arrest from this past

    The arrest from this past Sunday seems unjust. Not right at all for this to occur in our city.

    With that said.. If someone can't keep track of their own driver license status, then I think they should reconsider their candidacy for City Clerk. Personally, that is concerning and I question their ability to do the job. 

  3. Must Not Like Telling the Police Who He is!

    I find it interesting that this guy has a history of not telling the police his name or recently his birthday. I call BS on this guy. Something isn't right and I am sure there is something he isn't telling us. I say Rodney Greene for City Clerk – Make Evanston Great Again! 

  4. Some questions

    Has Reid explained why he refused to give Evanston police this week his date of birth while seeking signatures for his petition? Anyone ask him? Why did Reid refuse to give police his name when they were investigating the car he was in last year? What kind of example is he setting? Don't cooperate with police? Do we want to elect this guy as our city clerk?

      1. Just stop it


        All he had to do was cooperate and police would have left him alone. But apparently this dude has a record.

        There are numerous Devin Reids in Illinois. Police just waned to make sure they had the right Reid.

        And stop with the race stuff. I'm white and police have stopped me for no apparent reason other than driving a suspicious vehicle (a van during spring break) and asked for ID. I cooperated, and everything was cool. Oh, and the cop was a minority.

        1. When these simplicitic
          When these simplicitic remarks to a nation wide problem occur I state this fact!! Black people make up close to 13 percent. Of the American population but we make up close to. 50 percent of the prison population and it not all due to our. Collective lack of politeness or organization!! Its the system stupid, fix it and lets stop trying to make systemic wrongs the wrongs of a certain ethnicity!! I see how trump got elected!! The true feelings of the dominant culture appear in these comments

    1. He doesn’t have to explain anything

      What don't you understand about this? The police have no right to hassle someone by demanding their identifying information unless they have reasonable suspicion that a crime is being committed. It seems like the City has conceded that Reid was engaging in totallly lawful and protected conduct, and the cops should have just walked away as soon as they realized he wasn't committing a crime.

      And do you not understand why a black man in America might be skeptical that the police's intentions are benign when they approach and demand information they're not entitled to?

  5. Devon Reid
    U have my vote!!!!! Let’s make Evanston great. Your best people in the world are those who make mistakes and riiise!!!! So what he didn’t give his name ….he was being racially profiled!!!!!! Anyone smart and non racial whatever color can see that!!!! On all occasions of his interactions with the police! Instead of focusing on the negative think about the positive ….this is a young man 24 very well spoken very mature and very intelligent and verrryyyy qualified to uphold this position as clerk or any other position! As a young man of his age and magnitude u can smell greatness!!! It’s hard out here for everyone and I commend those trying!!!! Keep up the good work Mr Reid and good luck!!!!!!!

    1. Please

      Regina Brothers—Please explain how you deduce that Mr. Reid was racially profiled. I can't see it and I can't quite smell the greatness. 

  6. Who are we to Judge?

    We live in such a rock throwing world while all taking cover is our own glass houses! Focus on the person Reflected in the glass window and not so much on breaking the other person's glass ceiling!

    1. Who are we to judge?

      We are the voters.

      When one runs for office, he or she asks the electorate to judge them based on their experience, judgment, temperament and other abilities. We must decide based on all the information available, and after weighing the importance and credibility of that information, what kind of an elected officer we can expect the candidate to be. 

      1. Being in the public eye
        I agree. When anyone decides to be a public official, their lives, backgrounds, current stats, etc. become available for the public to see and judge. Who should care how old you are? That is SO petty, and shouldn’t even have bothered him. The policemen, though, should have realized that he was just getting petitions signed, and left him alone. THEY made a big deal out of something any candidate is allowed to do.

  7. Let’s separate the petition incident from driving w/o license
    The defenders of Reid rightly point to the fact that Reid was rightfully asserting his rights in last Sunday’s unjust confrontation with the policy during his petition drive.

    That is not the issue here.

    Reid is a public figure. He is running for City Clerk. City Clerk is a very important job. They maintain the records for the city and implement the laws related to governmental transparency, elections, etc…

    The issue here is what are his qualifications and what do we know about his character that may inform his performance on the job.

    The fact is that 14 months ago he was driving a car without a valid license and without insurance. He replied in this thread that he “made a mistake.” Fine. People make mistakes. Just because they make mistakes, however, doesn’t mean we should trust them as elected officials. Maybe in the era of Trump, character and qualifications mean nothing. If that is the case, then, please, embrace Reid.

    But to echo previous comments, being clerk requires organization. If someone doesn’t know their license is suspended and they don’t care about having insurance, that does not inspire confidence in their capabilities to organize complicated records for a city government.

    Even Devon’s website is a mess. The page “about Devon” is literally nothing but random characters and pictures mostly without captions. So I actually have no idea about his background at all.

    I appreciate that he responded to this thread. But his response is pretty thin. There are direct questions about why he neglected the ticket and why he was driving without insurance. And he fails to give answers.

    That obsfucation seems to run counter to transparency.

    I’m not a big fan of Rodney Greene, but I can tell you that elections run smoothly in Evanston, when I file a FOIA it gets answered quickly, and whenever I pop into the Clerk’s office I get my questions answered.

    Reid seems to be in a little over his head. I appreciate his idealism, but we don’t really need a Trump-style neophyte running the city clerk’s office.

  8. I hope this campaign shows
    I hope this campaign shows young people no matter where you come from you can do and achieve anything you work tirelessly toward. As a kid, my family struggled with homelessness and was forced to leave Evanston. At age 14, I became a foster kid living with a Latino family in Humboldt Park. Through that struggle I’ve met the greatest people walking this earth. They’ve shown unbelievable love and proven that the policy of our city and state doesn’t match its people’s values. I never imagined back then that I’d be running for City Clerk, yet, today I’m working for your support. I’m running to bring a new perspective to government – I’m running to bring the voice and policy of our people to city hall! We’ve all made mistakes, I’ve sure made mine. We need elected officials who understand the struggles of marginalized folks – I will be a champion for them and anyone else who believes in dismantling systems of oppression codified in state and local law.

    1. City Clerk’s responsibilities

      Please tell us what you would do differently in the current operations of the City Clerk's Office. Also give your experience as it applies to making those changes. Thanks. 

    2. How will

      Can you provide specific details on how you plan to dismantle “systems of oppression codified in state and local law.” What laws do you think should be dismantled?

      A curious voter

    3. The silence and failure to answer questions reveals everything
      It is telling that after several fair questions about what he would bring to the specifics of being city clerk, Devin has no response.

      He says he wants to “bring the voice and policy of our people to city hall.” What does this even mean? Is he saying that previous democratic elections where we vote for candidates to express our votes are invalid. Are you saying the elections were rigged?

      The Illinois statues list about 100 different things city clerks have to do to meet their duty to the state (which grants cities their charters). Frankly, most of these things are quite mundane duties relating to record keeping and require a significant attention to detail.

      I appreciate Devin’s concern for the marginalized; but to be quite honest, the city clerk’s office does not have any significant policymaking capacity.

      Devin is a Trump-style politician–someone with an ostensibly populist message, but no experience and very little understanding of the job for which he is running.

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