On Wednesday night, police in Evanston, Illinois, released dashcam video that shows the arrest of Lawrence Crosby, who was suspected of stealing a car that turned out to be his own.
The incident occurred on October 10, 2015. Crosby, an engineering doctoral candidate at Northwestern University, was working on his car around 7:00 pm when a woman passing by saw what she thought was a man breaking into a vehicle and stealing it. She called 9-1-1 and then followed Crosby, passing along information to the dispatcher about his location.
“Hi, somebody’s trying to break into, somebody’s trying to break into a car. I think the person just got into the car,” she told the dispatcher. “It looked like he had a bar in his hand and was trying to pry it open,” she added.
“I don’t know if I’m racial profiling, I feel bad,” the woman said in the call.
Crosby was pulled over when he was driving from his apartment to campus.
The following police video shows Crosby exiting his car with both hands up, holding a cell phone in one hand. The cops approach him with guns drawn, and order him to get down.
When he does not comply quickly enough, a group of officers rush him and bring him to the ground. Crosby said that officers hit and kneed him.
After the cops realized that – oops – Crosby does own the car, they are heard discussing their next steps, reports the Chicago Tribune:
“Let’s take him to the station. Do whatever ordinance stuff we need to do with him. Mirandize him. Get a statement from him,” the transcript says.
“He’s going to play a [expletive] game with us. We’ve got him on camera. We gave him orders. He wouldn’t comply. You know, he’s got a ton of police cars around and he thinks he’s going to do whatever the [expletive] he wants,” said one officer, according to the transcript.
Evanston police issued a video statement on their YouTube channel. It includes the dashboard camera recording from a police car, and footage from a camera that Crosby had installed on his own dashboard.
In the video from his own camera, Crosby can be heard talking on his cell phone, telling someone that he is being followed. As a black man, apparently he cannot work on his car at night, he says.
Crosby was charged with resisting arrest and disobeying officers, but a judge threw out the charges. In 2016, Crosby filed a civil rights lawsuit against Evanston Police. That case is now pending, reports Fox 32.
Evanston Police found the use of force justified – which should not surprise anyone.
But, in light of this incident, the department said it has changed it’s policy so that subjects do not need to be taken down by officers during an arrest.
After Crosby’s brutal take-down and arrest, the caller (who was still on the scene, because she
stalked followed Crosby) asked the cops to apologize to him if he owned the car.
According to transcripts, the caller can be heard after the arrest explaining her decision to call police:
“I’ve been in Evanston for so long and I, like, know what’s suspicious and what’s not suspicious. It looked suspicious, so I didn’t want anybody’s car to get stolen,” she said.
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