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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.

Related stories

Clerk candidate no stranger to arrest (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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4 Comments

  1. I called EPD a few years ago

    I called EPD a few years ago to have them pick up a bike I found in my alley.  Asked me name and DOB for the contact info. Thought it was odd but gave it up. I didn't resist, flee, or mouth off, or otherwise cop an attitude. Was not arrested.

  2. Tell ’em

    Wouldn't it make more sense to tell the Police what they want and all parties get on with whatever they are doing? They aren't likely to use your information to steal your identity.

    1. No.

      It makes sense if you feel like the police are trying to help you. It makes sense to tell them to go away if you feel like they're violating your 4th Amendment rights and asking for information that's none of their business.

  3. They thought i was insane…

    Called once to report a strange man in Robert Crown. Was treated like I was insane for calling about a stranger with no kids wandering the building late Sunday evening. Two cops came out and looked for me, the person who called. I explained that I didn't know this man, had never seen him around, he looked homeless and given the history of homeless people taking up residence in Robert Crown in the past, I didn't want it to start happening again. Also there were going to be young figure skaters showing up soon and the presence of a stranger made me uncomfortable. Again, was treated like I was the crazy woman but whatever. Cop asks me my name and DOB, and I ask why. "So if the guy asks who complains, I can say it was you." OH WOW THANK YOU NOW THE STRANGER KNOWS I COMPLAINED ABOUT HIM. EPD in no way made me feel safe, and in fact made me think I should never have complained and should just keep my mouth shut for fear of retaliation by the dude who now knows the woman who called the cops on him.

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