Timeline of Lawrence Crosby Arrest & Settlement

Oct. 10, 2015 | 7:05 pm Lawrence Crosby, a then 28-year-old graduate student at Northwestern University’s School of engineering, is repairing loose molding on his car. A passerby calls 911 to report as an attempted auto theft in progress.

911 Audio

00:00 Caller reports that someone is trying to break into a car, and provides address.

00:37 Caller reports the man entered the car. [Crosby later stated he got in his car when the caller began honking at him.]

01:15 Caller describes man as African-American, with a black hood who looked like he was breaking into a car. As Crosby drives off, the caller begins following him.

01:48 Dispatcher calls in the report, “Black male, black hoodie…just broke into a black four-door vehicle.”

01:58 Caller provides the license plate number.

02:19 Caller tells the dispatcher, “I don’t know if I’m racial profiling, I feel bad.” The dispatcher asks her if she had seen him jimmy the door open. She reports he man had had a bar in his hand.

Crosby Dashcam

01:12 When Crosby realizes he is being followed, he begins recording via a personal dashcam. In the recording, he makes a phone call to detail the encounter.

05:28 Over the phone, Crosby tells the friend that the person is still following him. He says had been standing outside of his car, trying to fix molding on the roof. He says he had been on his way to campus, but was now going to drive to the police department.

Police Dashcam

06:13 Police sirens signal Crosby to pull over in the 1500 block of Ridge Avenue. Crosby immediately signals to pull into in the parking lot of St. Mark’s Church.

06:26 Cars stop. Police shout for Crosby to exit his car with hands raised. Crosby complies, with his cell phone in his left hand, with the screen facing the officers.

06:32 and Crosby exits car with his hands raised. Officers continue shouting for Crosby to keep his hands up. [Offscreen, five officers approach Crosby with guns drawn.]

06:36 First audible command for Crosby to get on the ground. Commands are muffled as officers are simultaneously shouting.

06:40 An officer rushes Crosby as he stands with arms raised. Just prior to impact, Crosby turns away.

06:43 As officers knee Crosby and tackle him to the ground, Crosby tries to move in the view of his car’s dashcam. On the ground, officers punch him at least 10 times. Officers reported force used as “two knee strikes to Crosby’s lower back” and “empty-handed strikes to the heavy muscle region.

06:55 Crosby states twice that he is cooperating. An officer then tells him to stop resisting. Police shouting subsides. Crosby alerts the officers that he is videoing the encounter. An officer tells him they received a call about a stolen vehicle. Crosby states that the vehicle is his and that he had been trying to fix something on its roof.

07:15 Crosby asks why he is being arrested. The officer states they have to verify that the car is not stolen. Crosby states his license plate number, identifies himself as a student at Northwestern, and tells him when and where he purchased his car. Police ask Crosby who the car is registered to, and Crosby replies that the car is registered to him.

07:41 An an officer calls in the plates, Crosby, still on the ground, states he does not know why he is being arrested. Audible on the tape, officers say, “It doesn’t matter. You were given orders.”

07:54 Dispatch inform officers that the car is registered to Lawrence Crosby.

07:54 Crosby tells officers “there is something called the Fifth Amendment. An officer tells him, “that doesn’t apply.” reasonable search and seizure,

08:38 Officers move Crosby, handcuffed, off camera and into a police car.

Still on the scene, one officer says he told Crosby, “I didn’t shoot you mother f***er, so you should feel lucky for that.” Another states,”he thinks he can do whatever the f*** he wants.” In confirming the car was Crosby’s and in good standing, officers say they could charge him for resisting arrest, but “that case is going to fall apart.”

Regarding Crosby’s recording of the stop, an officer in the squad car accuses Crosby of “just f***ing with us because you’re trying to bait us into something.” Crosby responds, “no, I wanted video evidence regardless of what happened.” The officer then threatens Crosby, stating, “well then, you’re going to be charged with disobedience to police. If you’re going to put us on trial, then we’re going to put you on trial.”

Police charge Crosby with disobeying an officer and resisting arrest.


October 16, 2015 City Council is notified of arrest.

March 9, 2016 Crosby is acquitted of all charges.

October 11, 2016 Crosby sues City and four of the officers citing malicious prosecution, battery and use of force, failure to prevent battery and use of force, vicarious liability and conspiracy. He asks for at least $50,000 for compensatory and punitive damages, fees, costs and such other relief.

January 9, 2017 Former Ald. Brian Miller requests the City release the Crosby video footage to the public. 

Jan. 11, 2017 The Evanston police department release the video, including the dashboard recordings from both Crosby and the police, as well as the 911 audio. The video originally opened with a statement by the police sergeant stating, “You will see the suspect actively resisting arrest,” a charge of which Crosby was acquitted.

February 2017 City announces a series of police policy changes, including increased training in de-escalation and crisis intervention, wearing of body cameras, and adoption of a Use of Force policy.

Additionally, the Evanston Police Advisory Committee was replaced with the Citizen Police Advisory Committee (CPAC). A year later, an assessment committee questioned if CPAC had any “real authority” over the outcome of police complaints.

November 9, 2018 City’s request to “exclude evidence, testimony or witness” in the Crosby case was dismissed.

January 16, 2018 Parties reach $1.25 million settlement.