Evanston pays $1.25M in brutality case
The city of Evanston will pay $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit with a black Northwestern PhD candidate who was tackled, beaten and kicked by police after being pulled over on suspicion of vehicle theft in October 2015.
Officers were responding to a 911 call about an African-American man who looked like he might be breaking into a car. The incident was captured on a dashcam video. The victim, Lawrence Crosby – who was driving his own car – was charged with disobeying a police officer and resisting arrest. The case was brought to trial and Crosby was found not guilty.
An internal investigation by Evanston’s police department found officers complied with department policy, though the department issued a statement acknowledging that the video was “problematic” (Sun-Times).
Crosby was tackled after he exited the car with his hands raised. Several officers with guns drawn shouted conflicting orders, telling him to keeps his hands up or get on the ground. He was tackled before he could say anything. “All of this could have been prevented if I had been given a chance to engage in a conversation at any point,” Crosby said (Injustice Watch).
In a Washington Post op-ed, Crosby writes: “Every time I see the video from that October 2015 encounter, I experience fear, anger and terror. Fear that the color of my skin will make me out to be a criminal when I have broken no laws. Anger at the blatant disregard for human life and rights that the Constitution is supposed to guarantee to all citizens. Terror to have come — perhaps — within seconds of being shot by people sworn to serve and protect.”
He notes that his arrest record and news coverage of the incident will follow him the rest of his life. “I feel as though I’m forever going to have to explain myself. As for the arresting officers, are they doing any explaining? Will they have to answer for the rest of their lives for their decision to wrestle me to the ground, pummel me and charge me with a crime?” (Washington Post)