Lawrence Crosby, a Black man and an engineering doctoral candidate at Northwestern University, was beaten and arrested in a suburb of Chicago after police suspected him of trying to steal his own car. Apparently, a white woman passing by called the Evanston, Illinois police on Crosby.
“Hi, somebody’s trying to break into, somebody’s trying to break into a car,” the woman told the dispatcher, according to Fox 32. ““He had a bar in his hand, and it looked like he was jimmying the door open. I think the person just got into the car.”
Sadly, what the woman didn’t understand was that Crosby was just fixing his car. And when he got it to work, he pulled off–which is not a crime. Now to add insult to injury, the woman had the audacity to follow Crosby, giving updates to police as she sped after him. And Crosby noticed, the Washington Post reported.
“It was a little bit dark,” he says to someone while on the phone, captured on video. “You know how it is with black people — they think we’re always trying to do something wrong.”
“I think this person is still following me,” he added. “I think they’re trying to play some games. I’m about to go to the police station now.”
But he never made it to the station and was pulled over in a nearby church parking lot. According to recently released dashcam video of the 2015 incident, when officers arrived to the scene, they slammed Crosby down to the ground and begin punching him despite Crosby exiting his car with his hands raised.
“On the ground… on the ground… down on the ground… down on the ground…turn around,” the officers can be heard yelling as they knee Crosby to bring him to the ground and then punch him.
“I’m cooperating…sir, you’re on video… that’s an FYI,” Crosby can be heard telling the officers. He had moved to the front of his car to put himself within view of his own camera, Fox 32 noted.
Even worse? Crosby was charged with resisting arrest and disobeying officer, but thankfully a judge threw out those charges. Thankfully Crosby is fighting back: He filed a civil rights lawsuit against Evanston Police last year that is currently pending.
Not surprisingly, the Evanston Police stand by the officers involved, saying that the force used was “justified.” However, since the incident, the city’s police have changed their policy so that subjects do not need to be taken down by officers during an arrest.
But for Evanston Alderman Brian Miller, this isn’t good enough, especially since there have been five incidents in the last two years where police have not de-escalated minor incidents.
“I understand being a police officer is a tough job, but we need them to exercise judgment in their day-to-day operations,” Miller told Fox 32.
“And in this situation, within 10 seconds of Mr. Crosby getting out of his car with his hands in the air, he was tackled, he was kneed while he was standing up, then he was punched repeatedly by multiple officers, for allegedly stealing his own car. Our police officers need to be better than that,” he added.
“There’s a huge outrage over this in the community already,” Miller concluded. “And I’m glad that it wasn’t worse, because it could have been.”