Police in Evanston, Illinois, released dashcam footage on Jan. 12 of their officers violently arresting a black man they accused of stealing a car he owned on Oct. 10, 2015 (video below).
Police had no proof that Lawrence Crosby was guilty of stealing the car, but an unidentified witness told a 911 dispatcher: "...Somebody's trying to break into a car. I think the person just got into the car," notes WFLD.
Crosby had been working on his own car, which he got into before driving off; the unidentified witness followed Crosby during her 911 call.
Ironically, Crosby was driving to a police station because he knew he was being followed.
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In the video, police pull Crosby over in a church parking lot. Crosby is seen calmly stepping out of his car while holding his hands in the air.
Several officers hysterically scream, "On the ground!" and swarm him.
Some of the officers knee and punch Crosby, WFLD reports.
"I'm cooperating ... Sir, you're on video, that's an FYI," Crosby -- who has his own dashcam -- tells the cops.
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After being beaten by the police, Crosby explains who he is, where he goes to college and when and where he purchased the car.
Crosby insists his Fifth Amendment rights have been violated, but the police argue that point.
The unidentified witness who accused Crosby of trying to break into the car is heard telling the police off-camera that she didn't mean to racially profile Crosby.
Evanston Alderman Brian Miller, a mayoral candidate who pushed the Evanston Police Department to release the dashcam video, told WFLD:
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 10 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.
Police subsequently charged Crosby for resisting arrest -- for a crime he did not commit -- and disobeying an officer. However, a judge dismissed those charges.
In the beginning of the raw video of the incident, Sgt. Dennis Leaks defends the officers' actions, falsely claims that Crosby was resisting arrest -- the judge dropped that charge, it's not legally true -- and says the force used by police was in compliance with the department's policies.
However, Leaks adds that the department has changed its policy so that suspects do not always have to be taken down during an arrest. Leaks states that Crosby was not injured during the arrest, but does not provide evidence to back up that statement.
In 2016, Crosby filed a lawsuit against the City of Evanston and three cops for false arrest and excessive force.
Crosby’s attorney Timothy J. Touhy told WBBM: "They took him to the station and charged him with two criminal offenses, for which Lawrence had to stand trial and was acquitted."
Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl added: "I would suggest that police could have handled the stop considerably better."