Black Grad Student Accused of Stealing His Own Car and Beaten by Police Gets $1.25 Million Settlement

Illustration for article titled Black Grad Student Accused of Stealing His Own Car and Beaten by Police Gets $1.25 Million Settlement
Screenshot: WMAQ

The police tackled him for “stealing” a car that was his—now they may have to run him his money for the trouble to the tune of over a million dollars.


In 2015, police pulled over then-doctoral candidate Lawrence Crosby after an incorrigibly nosy and probably racist woman saw him fixing what turned out to be his own car. She called 911 and told them a black man was stealing a car, even following him to see where he was going and inform police, in that year’s most brilliant example of giving a fuck when it ain’t your turn to give a fuck. Police fuckery ensued.

The cops pulled Crosby over, asked him to exit his car and tackled him essentially unprovoked despite Crosby 1) not actually having done shit and 2) vocally signaling his willingness to cooperate with the police. The police then beat the hell out of Crosby, again, for no discernible reason—they claimed it was because they were dealing with what they thought was a theft in progress, per the Associated Press, because you definitely want to confirm that via a speculative phone call from a civilian. And I guess auto theft is a violent crime, or something. The police tried to charge Crosby with resisting arrest, which got thrown out, probably because there was clear video evidence of him...not really doing that. Crosby, quite reasonably, sued the shit out of the cops.

Now, the city of Evanston, Ill., has “tentatively agreed to pay… $1.25 million” for Crosby’s troubles. The amount is pending approval by the city council, according to City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, but Crosby’s lawyer shared the proposed figure with the Chicago Tribune, per AP.


Since the initial incident, Crosby has completed his doctorate. Good on him for pushing through what happened and doing what he needed to do after what had to be a traumatizing experience. From WMAQ:

“It is not easy for me to go back to that situation,” Dr. Crosby said in a press conference. “I don’t know if I’m ever going to get over that in my lifetime.” ...

After the settlement was announced, the city of Evanston released the following statement:

“The settlement is a compromise of disputed claims and the parties have not admitted liability or validity of any defense in the litigation.”

Dr. Crosby hopes his situation will bring awareness to the effects of implicit bias in policing. He, like many victims of police violence, never should have had to go through this, but hopefully the settlement will help as he moves on and advocates for this cause.

Natalie Degraffinried is a senior editor for Kotaku.

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What happened to the white woman though?

You can’t just let these busy bodies go unpunished. We should at least have her name.

A lot of these incidents are sparked by scared whites who know what is going to happen to a black person once they set the dogs of the state on em.