If you’re ever inclined to call the police to report a crime, it should give you pause if you start the conversation with the words, “I don’t know if I’m like racial profiling…” That kind of red flag was ignored by an anonymous 911 caller in 2015 when they reported what they thought was a car theft in Evanston, Ill.
Northwestern University PhD student Lawrence Crosby was arrested by Evanston police in October 2015 for reportedly stealing his own car, despite repeatedly telling them that the car was his and that he had documentation to prove it.
Crosby is now suing the four officers who arrested him, as well as the city of Evanston, and seeking damages in excess of $50,000, according to ABC7.
Crosby’s attorney, Tim Touhy, claims that his client was actually fixing a piece of loose molding on his car when a woman thought he was breaking into it. In the recorded and released 911 call, Crosby can be overheard growing concerned of the woman’s suspicion and need to call the police. When he got in his car and drove away, the woman followed him to give police his location.
The police department has released dashcam footage of the incident, showing Crosby slowly leaving his vehicle and telling the four officers exactly when and where he bought the car.
The Washington Post reports that he was actually on his way to the police station when he was pulled over because he was suspicious of the woman who had been following him since he got into his car. He was stopped two blocks away and pulled into a church driveway.
Soon after, the officers forced him to the ground and hit him with open hands, claiming that he was resisting arrest.
“I’m cooperating. I’m cooperating,” Crosby said.
After it was discovered that Crosby did nothing wrong, he was charged with resisting arrest and disobeying officers. He was acquitted of all charges in Cook County Circuit Court in March 2016.
Crosby’s lawsuit against the Evanston police includes five counts of malicious prosecution, battery and use of force, failure to prevent battery and use of force, vicarious liability and conspiracy.
Evanston PD has defended the officers actions as they were “in compliance with our procedures as it pertains to this type of situation,” said Sgt. Dennis Leaks.
Evanston is only a few miles outside of Chicago, which was recently called out by the Department of Justice for unconstitutional practices and excessive force after a 13-month investigation.
Watch the footage of Crosby’s arrest below.
Photo Courtesy: YouTube