Two Evanston police officers have been placed on administrative leave after they arrested a political candidate who was seeking petition signatures outside the Panera Bread downtown on Sunday evening.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz this morning sent a letter to Devon Reid, a candidate for city clerk, saying the officers’ actions Sunday in arresting him did not comply with police department training, policy or procedures.

Bobkiewicz said that in addition to placing Sgt. David Berman and Officer Amy Golubski on leave the city is moving to drop prosecution of the misdemeanor citation issued against Reid for disobeying police.

Reid says that when an officed approached him outside the restaurant he provided his name but declined to give his birth date, which apparently led to his being taken into custody.

A state statute, 725 ILCS 5/107-14, says police may demand the name and address of a person they stop in a public place when they reasonably believe the person is committing an offense. But the statute makes no reference to persons stopped being required to disclose their age.

While the city has made frequent efforts to discourage aggressive panhandling downtown, circulating nominating petitions for public office wouldn’t fall under that ban.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Soliciting while black? Is that an offense?

    Thank you, City of Evanston, for placing these officers on leave.  This arrest is so offensive and disappointing.  While walking in the downtown area, I am frequently asked to participate in short surveys by (white) Northwestern students, or buy cookies or popcorn from (white) scouts and their (white) parents, or donate to NFP causes by (white) do-gooders, or even sign (white) candidates' petitions to run for office.  I am at a loss to understand what offense the Evanston police officers reasonably believed Mr. Reid was committing.  Soliciting While Black?  We need to hire a higher caliber of police, and to train them well to use better judgment and avoid power struggles. 

    1. Wow. First comment plays the race card

      Wow. First comment plays the race card. That didn't take much time at all. So…..the motivation for the stop was race? You know that for sure? Wait, you're basing your judgement on previous interactions with other races downtown? Sounds like stereotyping to me. And by the way, I'm a minority. Let's see if this gets posted. 

      1. If not race-related, it’s at least discrimination

        What other reason would be that he was arrested when it is well known and documented that signature petitioners aren't panhandlers, why did the officers need to know his age when it isn't a requirement? Even if it isn't race related – it's discrimination and that should not be happening.

      2. I believe there are cameras on that corner

        I believe there are cameras that Evanston or the CTA operates directly on that corner.  A simple FOIA request should be able to paint a better picture of what happened  

        Why doesn't the chief of police comment on the actions of these officers? Is he still playing fire chief? 


      3. Eye Roll to Wow

        I was approached by this candidate downtown, had a conversation with him, and have seen him interact with others at a community event. He is respectful and completely appropriate. I cannot imagine he did anything warranting what occurred. It is simply naive to not factor in his race as the explanation. Your comment, Let's see if this gets posted" is silly, btw.

        1. I signed his petition as well

          I signed his petition as well.  I can't understand what happened.


    2. Re: NFP
      It would be nice if the police did something about the not-for-profit donation seekers. They seem uninterested in this, which is why their targeting of this man is so baffling.

      1. NFP

        What would you like the police to do about employees of Not-for-profits? It's not illegal and for many of these kids (some working their way through college) it's their first job and it's hard. Standing outside all day, talking to strangers, giving them info on the NFP they're working for most (not all, obviously) passionate about the causes they're working to support and getting rejected and/or ignored. A LOT. If you've ever worked in sales and especially telemarketing, or donation solicitation you'll know that it can be just as draining as it is rewarding. You're not obligated to donate, nor engage, you can just keep walking, but I don't think they're breaking any laws. 

    3. Stay calm and be polite

      The police are required to fill out a form with the suspect's name, address, etc, and aren't instructed on what do do when citizens refuse. I was asked for my driver's license while riding my bike for the same reason; so the officer could complete this administrative requirement. This unfortunately led to me being charged with a vehicle offense, even though I was only on my bike. But I got this thrown out in court with almost no effort. Expect to be arrested if you refuse to cooperate, but stay calm and be polite. In the end, you'll win!

  2. It is very clear that it was about race

    It is very clear that it was about race. This man was standing downtown asking for votes! Which means he wants people to know his name,so why on the Gods green earth would the police bother him??? The situation also confirms it was about race because they belittled him, handcuffed him to show their power and charge him with a PETTY unvalid crime! One thing about all racially charged bookings its always the police and what they feel is right vs. The actual law and for many african american like tgis young man when they have knowledge of the law, the law always seems to bend it just enough in thier favor. Face it they were wrong and got caught!

    1. It could be race, or it could

      It could be race, or it could be that he wasn't a member of the city's inner circle. Or maybe people who agreed with him liked talking to him, but others found him annoying. There's not enough information to say with certainty what it was.

    2. Not sure u know the facts

      I may have a little more info than you so I don't just play the race card. Also Evanston has a Huge minority population. Yet this officer of 15 years has never been accused of racism. 

      Someone called police. And the call came out as a panhandler complaint. She had reasonable suspicion to think a law violation had been committed. And that would grant her obligation to verify identification including DOB not just name and address. But he refused.  Why?

      1. Rights for a reason

        It does not grant her the authority to ask for his DOB. Did you read the article? I mean we have rights for a reason.

  3. Not race….
    Note that it clearly states in the story that the arrest was a violation for failing to give requested information to a police officer. I believe this is a city ordinance. There was no mention that he was requested to stop whatever activity – in this case having people sign his petitions – he was engaged in. The officers probably should have used better judgement once they saw what was going on and not even request information.

  4. Full investigation is needed

    My sincerest regret to this young man. This never should have happened. It was wrong.

    Many questions need to be answered about what happened and why it happened.

    Questions: are the officers involved here related or otherwise connected to those who support another candidate for City Clerk?  Perhaps someone sees this candidate as a young upstart. Does someone with authority or clout have an interest in the outcome of this race such that they influenced these officers or the police in general to put pressure on this candidate?

    None of this is good. But before we jump to any conclusions, please let the investigation run its course so that we get the complete story on how this happened.

  5. Were the police called?

    Were the police called, or did they just show up to harass this gentleman?  If they were called, by whom were they called?  Either way, this is an excellent way to get publicity for a political campaign, and it's free too. I'd never heard of this candidate before I read of this incident. Too bad two people, who undoubtedly sacrificed their lives time and again for the citizens of Evanston, had to have their careers tarnished. 

    1. Boo hoo poor police tarnished
      Boo hoo poor police tarnished for harrassng a black man. Why would theyy ask an illegal question? Then arrest him for it. If this isnt about race then it’s about poor training of police officers. I had an officer ask my for my birthdate too and I was calling in about an agressive panhandler. Weak EPD…very weak

      1. Why the date of birth?

        I had, on a few occasions, called the EPD, and when they came to write a report, they always asked for my date of birth. I'd always ask why, and they never had an answer…..(but I gave it to them anyway). SO…is it really necessary to know the age of the person calling in a complaint? EPD…give your officers a standard answer for this…..thank you.

        1. Google: Why do police ask Date of Birth

          I googled "Why do police ask Date of Birth". Seems the biggest reason was so they could determie they are runni a records check on correct person. Since theer is more than one person in the world with same name as yours.

          1. Petition
            The last comment hit the nail on the head when he asked the question “Why do police ask Date of Birth question. The reaction of the Police Department was as much of an over-reach as what the officers themselves did.

          2. Why would they need to run a

            Why would they need to run a records check on someone who committed no crime? This is a shame and I hope he wins, I'll be voting for him!

  6. Harassment of Devon Reid

    Would a modestly dressed, well-spoken white man soliciting signatures have been treated the same way? Not likely, so racial profiling has to be assumed. I haven't heard the arresting officer's side, but Evanston's image as a diverse, inclusive city just got a black eye. I wish Mr.Reid well in his campaign.

  7. Focus on the Training and Track Record of the Officer

    No one can know know what was in the officer's head, but we can look and actions, training, and track record.  Based on prior interaction with Officer Golubski (when she was parked illlegally in a bike lane to get a frappucino), she may struggle more generally when interacting with members of the public (of any race or age) to treat them as having rights and worthy of respect.

    It may be reasonable on the whole to suspect that race  exacerbated this, but we cannot know. Officers need to be properly trained and behave in ways that respect the rights of all citizens. They must also be held accountable to their duties to the job and the citizens.  FOcus on that and we can expect progress and change. 

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