Gregory Hall complained today he was handcuffed by Evanston police late Monday afternoon after they mistook him for a suspect in the armed robbery of a thrift store at 920 Chicago Ave.

Hall, a 60-year-old doctor of naprapathy, in interviews with WMAQ and WLS television, said he’d just emerged from the south branch library at 900 Chicago Ave. when police pulled up, confronted him and put him in handcuffs. He was released from the cuffs after about 10 minutes.

Police were responding to a description from the victim in that robbery and a robbery attempt a few minutes earlier at 1630 Orrington Ave. who said the armed robber was a skinny black male in his 50s or 60s with a scruffy beard. Police now believe the same person was responsible for both robberies.

Hall’s story was first publicized in a blog post by his son Monday evening and reposted on his Facebook page, where comments have included “Let’s support this family and get these police officers fired.”

Evanston police say Hall was detained because he was found close to the crime scene and matched the description of the suspect.

After he complained of pain from the handcuffs, he was transported by fire department paramedics to St. Francis Hospital where he was fitted with a brace for his left hand.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. More of the usual

    According to the police, Dr. Hall did not act as directed by the officers, and was uncooperative. So much sound and fury could be avoided and the encounter could have been much shorter had he done what was asked. The officers could have then moved on to continue their search and Dr. Hall could have gone on his way without a story to yell about.

    Consider: the officers were looking for an ARMED suspect. They tend to be a little more careful when approaching someone they want to question who’s believed to be armed.

    1. Just wondering

      Angry Old Man – I’m curious if you’ve ever been arrested and put in handcuffs after being accused of armed robbery when you actually were just visiting your local library. I’m assuming so, given that you offered advice about how to behave when that happens, like it’s no big deal. If not, though, perhaps you should consider what it feels like to be a black man who has been wrongly accused of committing a serious crime before you comment on how he should have acted.

      1. As I understand what happened

        As I understand what happened (TV New, the above article), the encounter took longer then it should have because there was a failure to identify himself and did not do what the officer(s) directed him to do. (I suspect submit to a pat down for weapons).

        While I have never been cuffed, I have been stopped (long ago) by officers looking for someone who may have matched my description while I was walking in the evening down the block to a corner store to get a newspaper (remember them?). I answered their questions and (presumably) did what they asked, told them what I was doing and showed my drivers license to prove that I lived just up the block, and they said OK and went about their business. I continued on bought the paper and went home. 

    2. Now there lies the conundrum.

      So the man is a doctor, a professional and you say he should submit to the police though he has done nothing wrong.  Are we a community under Martial Law that we must all lay on the ground for no other reason than the police (who by the way most likely don’t live in this community and don’t know the citizens, much less respect them) said so.  Apparently you have never been arrested for something you haven’t done.  It is extremely humiliating and even more so in public.  So what you are saying is that we the public should not be incensed that we are being publically humiliated in public.  The End

      1. Mistaken identity

        As for mistaken identity, it makes more sense to work with the police to clear it up than fight against them. If you know you are innocent, then why resist. That is the thing I have never understood. I personally have never been in that situation.

        My father has, and I have had family that has gone to jail for messing up. You assume that others look at the situation as if their lives are sparkling clean and they are passing judgement. Maybe up in Wilmette… Not so much in Evanston or Chicago.

      2. There’s no conundrum, you just don’t understand the policy

        As a matter of policy, if the court system decides that the police can’t detain someone matching a description of a suspect, then anyone who commits armed robbery can just say “Oh, hey it wasn’t me, I’m a doctor” and refuse to comply and the cops would just have to let them go. 

        A real world example from here in Evanston would be that guy who killed the two men in the tobacco shop on Davis a few years ago. He subsequently robbed the Chase branch on Grove, I believe. The police saw a man matching the identity of the bank robber near Benisons and when they attempted to stop him, he brandished a gun and was quickly shot by the police. Now think about this – in your world, that man simply could have said “sorry fellas, not me, I’m just a professor from Northwestern” and been free to leave lest he be “publicly humiliated.”  

        The inconvenience and public humiliation that innocent people will sometimes suffer is a necessary side effect of our court system and law enforcement balancing the 4th Amendment against public safety. And yes, yes I have been stopped by the cops on a case of mistaken identity and had the pleasure of having a loaded gun pointed at my head from 3 feet away while a cop yelled orders and then ordered onto my stomach in an oil covered parking lot. It sucks. But that is a cost of living in society that has men and women risking their lives to stop armed robbers and murderers. I wasn’t mad at the cops because I can empathise with their fear while searching for an armed suspect while having very imperfect information about who they are looking for, I was mad at the guy who looked like me who committed the crime that caused the police to move against me in the first instance. 

  2. Disagree completely. A
    Disagree completely. A surveillance image of the suspect was released to the public before the doctor was cuffed by the cops. How come I knew what the suspect looked like, but the police didn’t?

    1. Check your facts

      Hi Paul,

      The surveillance images you saw weren’t released until early afternoon Tuesday, The cuffs went on around 5 p.m. on Monday.

      So the police didn’t have the benefit of the pix when they were looking for a suspect immediately after the holdup and the attempted holdup took place.

      — Bill

  3. Body Cam?

    The TV news reported that the officers were wearing body cameras (and the reporter got to see it). Any thoughts of a prompt release of the video?

  4. Why not identify ?
    Yes the law is you don’t have to give your name—and perhaps other information.
    But not doing so may/probably result in being detained longer, perhaps taken to the police station, etc.
    I know in an entirely different area, but when I see people [and a lot of NU students] walking against a traffic light or crossing a street with cars coming without even looking, I think ‘Yes the law “may” give you the right and if hit the driver may be a ticket [or worse] and regret hitting you for years but you are DEAD.”

    1. looks like

      If you put glasses on this suspected man, he looks a lot like Mr. Rodney Lowe, who just received accolades a few articles up …….

      The police are doing their jobs.  i can honestly say that if I was stopped, I would have no problem giving EPD information..because I’d know I was innocent.   They are supposed to check people out, and that was simply what they were doing.   Quit trying to put handcuffs on the police which would impede their purpose in seeking a perpetrator.  Nobody should take offense to that.   

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