A Ph.D. student who was beaten up by police and accused of “stealing” his own car has been vindicated after three years. He was granted $1.25 M in a court settlement.
Lawrence Crosby was a Ph.D. student of Northwestern University when he was arrested for stealing his own car. The arrest happened in October 2015 after a suspicious woman reported him to the police.
Crosby was repairing a loose molding of his car when the woman spotted him and thought he was trying to steal it. After he drove off, the woman followed him to Northwestern’s science building where his apartment was. The woman gave his location to the police who responded by taking Crosby by force.
According to reports, Crosby was asked to get out of his car with his hands raised. Police then struck him 11 times before they learned that he was actually the owner of the car.
Recalling the night of the incident, Crosby said,
“At that moment in time, I did not know if I would make it to the end of the night.”
Since then, the now 28-year-old suffered post-traumatic stress and feared the police.
Prosecutors at the time charged him with restraining arrest but he was later found not guilty. Crosby retaliated by filing his own civil case against the city and its officers.
This week, the Evanston Police Department settled with Crosby for $1.25 million despite its lack of admission of liability. Crosby believes the amount is “fair and just” considering the experience he went through.
Crosby’s case is an example of a wrongful arrest due to racial profiling. There have been many cases in the past that relate to this. For instance, a Black 18-year-old traveling with his white grandmother was pulled over and handcuffed by police who responded to a tip claiming he was a robber.
Another teen who was babysitting a group of white children was also stalked by a white woman thinking he was a kidnapper. She reported the teen to the police only to learn later about the absurdity of her suspicions.