Illinois

A Man Will Take $1.25 Million Home After Police Tackled Him for Allegedly Stealing His Own Car

Dashcam footage shows officers kneeing, tackling, and punching Lawrence Crosby while shouting, "Stop resisting."

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|||Screenshot via YouTube/Chicago Sun-Times
Screenshot via YouTube/Chicago Sun-Times

In 2015, 25-year-old Lawrence Crosby was pursuing his engineering doctoral degree at Northwestern University. The young black man never could have predicted that in October of that year, police in his college town would use excessive force to arrest him under the suspicion that he was stealing his own car. A little more than three years after the ordeal, Crosby is set to see compensation from the city of Evanston, Illinois, on behalf of their error.

Evanston City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz confirmed that the city reached a settlement following the use of excessive force in the arrest of Crosby. Crosby's lawyers also confirmed the settlement and told reporters that the city agreed upon $1.25 million. The city council is set to give final approval for the amount during an upcoming meeting on January 28.

Crosby was arrested in 2015 after a woman saw him entering his vehicle in the Chicago suburb. She called 911 and told dispatch, "somebody's trying to break into a car," after passing him on the street. Dashcam footage, which was released in 2017 following a third-party Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, showed Crosby exiting his vehicle with his hands high in the air. Officers prompted Crosby to get on the ground. When he hesitated, at least five officers swooped in to knee, tackle, and punch him while shouting, "Stop resisting." Crosby is heard saying, "I'm cooperating," while the officers pile on top of him. He was then arrested and later charged with disobedience to police.

The charges were eventually dismissed by a judge and, in 2016, Crosby filed a suit against the city for making a false arrest and using excessive force.

"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," Crosby wrote in the Chicago Tribune last year.

Both city and university police have since implemented body camera programs. A study from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill used traffic data to determine that in 2014, Evanston police were seven times more likely to search a black driver during a traffic stop than a white driver.

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40 responses to “A Man Will Take $1.25 Million Home After Police Tackled Him for Allegedly Stealing His Own Car

  1. These settlements do nothing to change police behavior. Cops who commit these assaults need to go to jail. That’s the only thing that will discourage them.

    1. Does not the rule of law dictate that the king’s men must be held financially accountable for their misdeeds?

      Does not the rule of law dictate that the king’s judges cannot immunize the king’s men from their misdeeds?

      1. No, at least not according to SCOTUS.

    2. You are 100% correct Vernon.

    3. Disagree. Jail is too good for them.

      Roast the piggies….slowly.

      1. + more charcoal

  2. Both city and university police have since implemented body camera programs.

    Because lack of video evidence is why they didn’t restrain themselves from jacking Crosby?

    1. Video evidence will be the only thing that generates enough fear to offset the baser instincts. See Covington accusers.

  3. Driving while black is apparently a horrible crime to the police.

    1. Or even attempted DWB.

    2. Ugly in a No Ugly Zone.

  4. Serious question. Why did the “witness” think he was breaking into the car? Was he starting it with a screwdriver?

    1. Serious question. Is the way he started his car relevant to how the cops treated him (or should have treated him)?

      1. Yes, it is relevant. If a person is starting their car with a screwdriver then that is suspicious and would merit a few questions being asked.

        1. Even if someone is stealing a car, if they’re cooperating there’s no reason to point a gun at them and tackle them to the ground.

          So no, it’s not relevant. The cops actions were disproportionate to the situation no matter the basis for the original call.

        2. I had an El Camino with no keys. Hotwire only, couldn’t lock the doors. Completely legal.

    2. Cops tell me to get on the ground, I’m gonna hesitate too. Why did they need so many responders?

      1. They feared for their lives. The suspect was still beathing and may have been able to move his own limbs.

    3. Obvious answer: the car was too nice for a black person to legitimately own.

      1. You know, if some WaPo comments creep stumbled in here, they would absolutely refuse to believe comments like that are sarcastic, and call us all nazis.

        Hail Hydra!

        1. That could never happen. Just look at the non-problem for Rep. Swalwell after his “sarcastic” comment about nuking gun owners.

        2. Nazi’s puts a bit too fine a point on it; rather it is more efficient and simpler to call anyone who disagrees a fascist.

      2. That is the implied answer, but I am hoping there is at least some plausible excuse that the woman had for calling the cops. I have trouble believing that Chicago Woman has never seen a black man in a nice car.

        Did he lock his keys in the car and open it with a coat hanger?

        Did the dispatcher ask no clarifying questions?

        A lot of things went wrong before the cops showed up.

      3. Reminds me of the scene from that wonderful film Driving Miss Daisy when her “negro” driver/servant was driving along in rural Georgia or similar, in her nice Lincoln (?), she is a short very old white woman comfortably seated in the big back seat enjoying the scenery when the blinkin red lights come on from behind. He knows he is driving legally, and knows he is supposed to be driving that car there…. so he is confused. Copper comes up and gets uppity, Driver explains he is driving Miss Daisy and cop is unimpressed…. then SHE speaks up in her tiny old voice from deep in the back seat and the copper is confused…….. stumbles and blubbers for a while, then walks off in disbelief.

        Back then, I think early sixties deep in Dixie, black men did not drive cars like that.

        He treated her with such honour and respect, served her for decades, and she died with no heirs… except that she willed everything of hers to him.

        Which I thought was true justice.

    4. I wonder why SHE wasn’t charged with a crime.

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  6. Didn’t Spider-man do the same thing?

  7. Why are they giving him a $1.25 million home? Fucking crazy.

    1. Really. That home should go to the woman who called 911!

    2. It’s cheaper than the cost of housing him in a state correctional facility for xx years?

  8. The police involved should go to jail. The lawsuit will be settled with taxpayer money. What we want to do is change police behavior and motivation. Sticking taxpayers with a large bill will not accomplish that. Putting a few cops in jail will.

  9. Do you know how badly you can damage your knee when it contacts someone’s chest? Those cops are heroes.

    /s

  10. Question, are these settlements tax-free money or is it more like hitting the lottery?

    1. It depends how the settlement is structured. Compensatory damages are tax-free, while punitive damages are taxable. Unless something has changed in the last few years.

  11. Dash & body cams aren’t a panacea by any stretch, as the kerfuffle at the Lincoln Memorial last week has shown.

    1. Not only that, but the cops were telling him he was on video, as if he would behave better!

  12. Is it out of line for me to wish that the award was $100 million, the entire public physical assets of the town, life appointment as Chief of Police there, the personal assets of all the officers involved, up to the level of their entire chain of command and training cadre, and that the five who gave the physical damage be beaten into comas with rebar rods?
    Or am I just cranky this week?

  13. Why is the government of Evanston IL so Racist?

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