Getting your Evanston news from Facebook? Try the Evanston RoundTable’s free daily and weekend email newsletters – sign up now!
Subscribe to the newsletter!
The police officer asked Mr. Reid what he was doing, and Mr. Reid told the RoundTable that he told the officer he was petitioning to get on the ballot, which he said is a right guaranteed under the First Amendment. He said he showed the officer the nominating petitions. When the officer asked his name, Mr. Reid said he gave his name, and his middle initial.
When the police officer asked for his birth date, he said he asked if he was being detained, and said he had not been doing anything that violated the law, but was petitioning to get on the ballot, an activity protected under the First Amendment. He told the RoundTable he refused to give the officer his birth date because he was not doing anything that violated the law.
Mr. Reid said the police officer told him if he refused to give his birth date, it would be a violation of the law. Mr. Reid said he told the officer it was not a violation of the law to refuse to provide his birth date.
Another police officer arrived on the scene, and the two officers handcuffed Mr. Reid behind his back, placed him in the back of a police car, and took him to the Evanston Police Department where he was detained in the basement.
He was charged with committing an offense of “Obedience to Police in Public Places” in that he allegedly refused to provide a uniformed police officer “with his birth date while in a public place, the sidewalk, as the Officer investigated a possible City of Evanston ordinance violation in which the defendant was a suspect.”
The complaint does not state what “ordinance violation” was being investigated or the relevance of a birthdate to any such investigation.
The complaint alleges that Mr. Reid violated 9-4-18-1 of the City Code, by refusing to provide his birthdate. That section prohibits people from giving away an animal as a prize or enticement.
City Code 9-5-18-1, which is titled Obedience to Police in public places provides, “Any person, in or on any public place in the City, who is violating any provision of this Code or any statute of the State shall immediately cease such violation upon the request of the police officer. It shall be unlawful for any person to refuse to obey the command or direction of a police officer.”
Arguably, the second sentence of 9-5-18-1 must be construed in the context of the first sentence, and mean that is unlawful for a person to refuse to obey a command or direction of a police officer to cease a violation of a City Code or a State statute.
Mr. Reid said he was released on an I-bond. He told the RoundTable he doubted if a white person petitioning in a public place would have been subjected to the same treatment.
Mr. Reid said he intended to file his nominating petitions to be placed on the ballot for City Clerk on Nov. 28.
“On Sunday, November 27, 2016, at approximately 5:43 p.m., an Evanston police officer conducted an investigation into a possible City ordinance violation in the 1700 block of Sherman Avenue. The officer interacted with two individuals, one was a 24-year-old African American male from Evanston, and the other a 23-year-old White male from Chicago. During this interaction, the officer learned that the individuals were collecting voter signatures in order to run for political office. The officer determined that a contact card needed to be filled out documenting the circumstances of the interaction. Upon request, the 23-year-old provided contact information to the police officer, but the 24-year-old refused to provide certain contact information. The officer issued a local ordinance violation citation to the Evanston resident, and he was issued an I-bond.
“After reviewing the circumstances of the interaction, the City determined that Evanston Police Department training, policy or procedures were not properly complied with. The City will dismiss the local ordinance violation citation as soon as possible. An internal investigation into the interaction is ongoing. The names of the officers or individuals involved in the incident are not being released at this time.
“The City and the Police Department strives to be fair and equitable to all, and procedures and actions by the Department are reviewed on a consistent basis to improve the quality of service provided.”
Update on Nov. 28In a prepared statement issued on Nov. 28, the City of Evanston states in part:
“”After reviewing the circumstances of the interaction, the City determined that Evanston Police Department training, policy or procedures were not properly complied with. The City will dismiss the local ordinance violation citation as soon as possible. An internal investigation into the interaction is ongoing. The names of the officers or individuals involved in the incident are not being released at this time.””The prepared statement appears in full at the bottom of the article at left.