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The Evanston, Illinois police department has released a dashcam video of what seems to be another example of excessive force used by the police — on an innocent party no less.
On October 2015, Lawrence Crosby, a PhD candidate at Northwestern University’s McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, was pulled over and aggressively arrested by the police for stealing the car he was driving, according to Chicago Tribune. As it turned out, the car was his own.
A woman passing by called the police on Crosby when she saw him fixing his car and then driving off with it. She then followed him around in her car while giving updates to the police.
“I don't know if I'm racial profiling, I feel bad,” the woman, ironically, said in the call.
"It looked like he had a bar in his hand and was trying to pry it open," the woman told police.
Corsby had only been trying to fix a loose molding, according to attorney Timothy Touhy.
Crosby soon started suspecting he was being followed and can be heard on the phone, telling an acquaintance that since he is a black man, he apparently cannot work on his car at night. He was soon pulled over by the police.
In the footage released by the Evanston police, Crosby can be seen coming out of the car with his hands in the air and his cell phone clutched in one. When the police tell him to get down on the ground; he moves infront of his car to position himself in front of his own dashboard camera. Apparently, for not immediately complying with the order, five police officers descend on Crosby, knee him until he falls to the ground and then proceeded to land a barrage of punches on him.
The officer can be heard telling Crosby to “stop resisting” even though he isnt. In fact, according to Crosby’s own dashcam, he can be heard saying, “I’m cooperating ... sir, you’re on video ... that’s an FYI.”
Crosby was then taken to the police station and charged with two criminal offenses, for which Lawrence had to stand trial and was later acquitted. However, upon viewing the video, the judge threw out both the charges.
Police department spokesman Joseph Dugan said that the use of force by police was justified.
“He immediately gets out of the car, he puts his hands up, the officers go in and he moves,” Dugan said. “So they swarm him, get on him, get him down on the ground.”
Local alderman Brian Miller told CBS Chicago that the footage was “one of the most outrageous acts I’ve seen from our officers so far.”
“For two years, I’ve been talking about a pattern with the Evanston police officers not de-escalating minor incidents where it didn’t have to lead to arrest or (other charges),” Miller said during a city council meeting earlier this week. “If our police officers took a moment to step back and examine the circumstances and de-escalate situations we wouldn’t have these types of situations.”
Crosby has since filed a lawsuit against the city and arresting officers, citing false arrest and excessive force.
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters