Black PhD Student Is Beaten and Cuffed When Cops Refuse To Believe The Car Is His

EVANSTON, Ill. — Police thought Northwestern doctoral student Lawrence Crosby was driving a stolen car, but it turned out that car belonged to him.

The video from October 2015 showed Evanston Police pulling over a car they believe is stolen.

The 25-year-old graduate student got out of the car, put his hands up in the air and was thrown to the ground by officers.

The doctoral student, Lawrence Crosby, has filed a lawsuit against the city of Evanston and four officers for damages.

He claims police used excessive force and had no reason to arrest him as he was driving his own car.

Evanston Police refused ABC 7’s request for an interview on Friday.

On Wednesday, Evanston police released dashboard video recordings of officers arresting Lawrence Crosby.

The video also included audio of the call made to a 911 dispatcher reporting a man stealing a car, and audio recorded by Crosby’s own dash-mounted camera inside his vehicle.

Crosby was stopped, while driving his own car, in the 1500 block of Ridge Avenue in Evanston about 7 p.m. Oct. 5, 2015, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court last October.

In the video, a woman calls police to report an African American man in a hoodie who looked like he was breaking into a car at Sherman Avenue and Seward Street in Evanston.

She tells the dispatcher the man was standing by the car with a long bar in his hands, and looked like he was trying to pry open the door.

The caller later says the man has gotten into the vehicle.

“Still sitting there in the car?” said the 911 dispatcher.

“Yeah. I don’t know if I’m like racial profiling… I feel bad,” said the 911 caller.

“Did you see him jimmy the door open or do anything?” said the 911 dispatcher.

“He had a bar in his hand, and it looked like he was jimmying the door open,” said the 911 caller.

Crosby’s attorney, Tim Touhy, said his client left his apartment in Evanston, fixed a piece of loose molding on his car, and was driving to Northwestern University-where he was pursuing a doctorate in engineering-when he was pulled over.

Shortly after the woman worried she was racially profiling, Crosby can be heard saying he’s concerned that the woman thinks he was trying to steal the car, and says a black man can’t fix his car at night without someone thinking he’s stealing it.

When Crosby drove away, the woman followed him in her own vehicle and continued to report his location to police, who pulled Crosby over a short time later.

Once his car is stopped, Crosby gets out of the vehicle with his hands in the air and tells officers he owns the car. The officers shout at Crosby, approach him with guns drawn, and pull him to the ground. They place him in handcuffs as he continues to tell them that he owns the car and has documentation for it.

Later, when officers learned that Crosby was the registered owner of the car and had a valid license, they decided to charge him with disobeying a police officer and resisting arrest, Touhy said in a statement. Crosby was acquitted of the charges on March 9, 2016, in Cook County Circuit Court.

The five-count suit accuses the officers of malicious prosecution, battery and use of force, failure to prevent battery and use of force, vicarious liability and conspiracy.

It names the City of Evanston and four police officers as defendants. Crosby is seeking damages in excess of $50,000.

Evanston police spokesman Cmdr. Joseph Dugan said he could not comment on the video because of the pending lawsuit against the city.

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