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At about 6:25 p.m. on Nov. 3, an African American woman (the “Driver”) was in her vehicle stopped in the road at about 719 Church Str., close to Chipotle. She told the RoundTable she was waiting for a car that was parked there to pull out, so she could pull into a parking space. She said a man was putting his child into the parked car before he pulled out, and she was waiting for him to do that.
She said a police car pulled up behind her and a female police officer approached her car. At some point the Driver began to videotape their interaction. The Driver asked, “Why are you pulling me over.” The officer responded, “Because you’re obstructing traffic. You’re double-parked.”
The Driver responded she was waiting for the owner of the parked car to put his baby in the car and pull out, and she repeatedly told the police officer that the officer had no reason to pull her over.
The officer said, “I understand you’re waiting for a parking space, but unless the vehicle is actively pulling out [interruption] … you are stopping in the street.”
The officer repeatedly asked for a driver license and insurance card. The Driver repeatedly said the officer had no reason to pull her over. She asked that the officer call for her supervisor, and said she would provide her driver’s license and insurance card when she pulled into the parking space. Later, the Driver said she would provide them to the supervisor.
A male officer appeared on the scene and asked the Driver for her driver’s license and insurance card, saying, “You need to provide your license when asked,” The Driver provided her driver’s license and insurance card. A supervisor subsequently appeared on the scene and talked to the Driver.
A video recording of the incident is posted on Devon Reid’s facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/devon.reid.925. The video has more than 6,000 views.
The Driver was charged with improper stopping in roadway in violation of 625 ILCS 5/11-1303(a)(1), which provides, “Except when necessary to avoid conflict with other traffic, or in compliance with law or the directions of a police officer or official traffic-control device, no person shall stop, stand, or park a vehicle on the roadway side of any vehicle stopped or parked at the edge of curb of a sidewalk.”
Commander Joe Dugan of the Evanston Police Department told the RoundTable that Section 11-1303(a)(1) prohibits persons from stopping or standing in a roadway. “It’s one of those things, it is a violation and then it comes to the officer’s discretion and reasonableness, and you have to take a look at it from an “objectively reasonable” approach, he said. He also said that some factors that an officer might take into account are the length of time the car was stopped in the roadway, whether the behavior of the driver in the parked car is likely to change, or whether the driver does or does not acknowledge a violation occurred. He added that there have been complaints of double-parking in that area.
Commander Dugan said there was not a set period of time, but it comes down to reasonableness.
He analogized the situation to a person violating a speed limit. If the limit was 55 miles per hour, and a driver was going 56, there would be a violation, but the officer would not likely give a citation. If the driver was going 60, then the chances of getting a citation increase.
The Driver told the RoundTable that at some point the police officer opened her car door. When asked about whether an officer’s opening of a car door would be an outright violation of police department policy, Comdr. Dugan said no, it could be justified under certain circumstances. He said the officer will be asked why that occurred as part of the internal investigation.
The Driver was also charged with obstruction of registration plate in violation of 605 ILCS 10/27.2(a). That section provides that a person may not operate a motor vehicle where covers, etc., “obstruct the visibility or electronic image recording of the plate.” The Driver said she was told that the word “Illinois” was blocked by a dealer’s license plate holder.
Cmdr. Dugan told the RoundTable that the Driver filed a complaint, and that there is an internal investigation under way by the Professional Standards group. They will interview the Driver, witnesses, the officers, and review videos and any other available evidence as part of the investigation, said the Commander. A recommendation will be made, and the Police Chief will make a decision. City Council’s Human Services Committee then reviews the Chief’s decision.
The police officer who initially approached the Driver is the same police officer who was involved in charging Devon Reid on Nov. 27. As previously reported, the City said it will dismiss the charges against Mr. Reid..