In the wake of a candidate’s arrest while circulating nominating petitions this week, Evanston’s Human Services Committee is expected Monday to delve into the question of when police can arrest someone for failing to answer their questions.
Devon Reid’s arrest came after he refused to tell a police officer who’d stopped him outside Panera Bread downtown his age.
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.
In addition, the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, in a May 2015 report, notes a state appellate court decision, People v. Fernandez, which reversed the obstruction of justice conviction of a man who refused to tell Carpentersville police his name. It also cites a federal appeals court case, Williams v. Jaglowski, which reversed an obstruction of justice conviction of a person who refused to tell police her age.
(A separate statute makes it illegal to give false identifying information to police.)
Evanston Police are required by the department to complete a computerized form — commonly called a “contact card” — after they’ve stopped someone on suspicion they may have committed a crime.
Police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan says the form asks for the name, address, birth date, height, weight and clothing description of the person stopped, among other things.
Dugan says, under the state law, they can only require answers to the questions about name and address. “But if we are going to cite them or arrest them, we can require more identifying information,” Dugan says.
Clerk candidate no stranger to arrest (12/2/16)
How the candidate’s arrest played out (11/29/16)