The lawyer for Legrand Jones had argued that it’s not a crime to refuse to identify yourself to police. Attorney William Ferrell said police were stopping people without cause during the July protest to gather information and discourage demonstrators. Under state law, it’s not a crime to refuse to identify oneself to police. “The Washington Supreme Court struck down Washington’s former ‘stop and identify’ statute,” Ferrell wrote in court filings. “In doing so, they made the following observation, a detainee’s refusal to disclose his name, address, and other information cannot be the basis of an arrest.”
Ferrell also said the case was important in the context of citizens’ freedom of speech. “Police were stopping people for real or imaginary criminal activities and asking for identification,” he said. “It was a tactic to gather intelligence. “It goes without saying that is has a chilling effect on people’s First Amendment rights and might keep people from going to protests.”
It is unclear whether the city will appeal the ruling.