Evanston, IL – All too often, those who blindly support authority without question will say, 'If you don't want to get beat up by police, don't break the law.' However, time after time after time, they are proven wrong — often in the worst way. Dr. Lawrence Crosby is proof that not breaking the law is no protection against getting hurt by police as he was beaten and arrested by cops who thought he'd stolen his own car. Now, instead of the officers begin held accountable for this abuse, the taxpayers of Illinois are shelling out $1.25 million.
As the AP reported on Wednesday, a Chicago suburb has tentatively agreed to pay a former doctoral student $1.25 million to settle a lawsuit alleging police officers tackled him to the ground and arrested him for stealing a car that turned out to be his own, his attorney said.
"This isn’t the story that I expected to be telling at this point in my life, having just received my doctorate from one of the top schools in the country. The bigger story of my life is growing up without knowing my father, losing my mother to illness when I was 8 and becoming a ward of the state," Crosby aptly noted in his piece for WaPo last year.
Crosby is not a criminal. In fact, he's an upstanding citizen and accomplished engineering student who was on his way to school to complete his doctorate at Northwestern University that night. However, in today's see something, say something society, not even innocent doctoral candidates are safe from police abuse.
At around 7:00 pm that night, Crosby was working on his car when a woman drove by. Seeing a black man working on his car was enough to trigger this do-gooder into calling the cops and then apparently following him.
“Hi somebody's trying to break into, somebody's trying to break into a car,” the woman told the dispatcher. ”I think the person just got into the car."
Not knowing that he'd just been reported for stealing his own car, Crosby began his drive to campus from his apartment. However, as his own private dashcam shows, Crosby quickly noticed something fishy and he began heading to the police station to report the fact that someone, most likely the woman who reported him, was following him.
However, he did not make it to the station. Cops pulled Crosby over in a church parking lot and all hell broke loose.
"The record is on the dash-cam footage: It’s nighttime. I step out of my car, bewildered at being pulled over and surrounded by police vehicles in the college town I’ve lived in for years. I hold my hands up high, shocked to see several guns pointed at me. It turns out a fellow student had called the police to report that someone was trying to steal a car. That someone was me. The car was my own. I had a key," he wrote.
“On the ground... on the ground... down on the ground... down on the ground...turn around,” the cops yelled.
Confused and afraid, Crosby did not immediately fall to the ground, so almost as soon as cops gave the command, they pounced on him.
“I'm cooperating...sir, you're on video... that's an FYI,” Crosby said to the abusive cops.
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Believing they had a car thief, cops held no punches as the blue gang swarmed the innocent man doling out blow after blow. During the melee, Crosby can be heard telling police that he had only moved and hesitated so he could get in front of his own cameras.
"I was face down on the pavement. One police officer was kneeing me in the back, while others pulled or punched. They paid no attention to my screams identifying myself as an engineering PhD student at Northwestern University. They just kept punching. One shouted, 'Stop resisting!'" Crosby explained in the Post.
Crosby, knowing he did absolutely nothing wrong, tells the officers that he is the owner of the car. Within less than a minute after they beat him, cops were entirely aware that Crosby was indeed the owner of the car and they had no reason to stop him. However, they weren't about to let this stop go to waste.
Knowing they had no legitimate crime to charge him with, officers began telling Crosby that he resisted and did not cooperate.
Instead of an apology, Crosby was kidnapped and charged with resisting arrest and disobeying officers.
“I understand being a police officer is a tough job, but we need them to exercise judgment in their day to day operations. And in this situation, within ten 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,” Alderman Brian Miller said at the time.
Luckily for Crosby, after reviewing the video, a judge threw out the charges. However, not one of the cops who savagely beat an innocent man that night has faced any discipline. In fact, Evanston Police found the use of force justified.
"I’ve done everything in my power to defy the odds," explains Crosby. "Yet 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?"
The answer is no.
"It's his hope that as a result of this case, that all of us begin a discussion on implicit bias and begin to recognize it and begin to discuss it between yourselves and your friends," said Steven Yonover, who represented Crosby in the case to the AP.
Indeed, it is.
Want to know why there is so much divide in America today between the police and the policed? Watch the video below.