City set to release 2015 video depicting contentious arrest


Daily file photo by Katie Pach

Ald. Brian Miller (9th) attends a city meeting. Miller, a mayoral candidate, pressed for the release of a 2015 video depicting the arrest of Northwestern graduate student Lawrence Crosby, which the city said it will publish online Wednesday.

Kristina Karisch, Assistant City Editor

A mayoral candidate is pressing for the release of a 2015 police video that shows the arrest of Northwestern graduate student Lawrence Crosby.

Ald. Brian Miller (9th), who announced his candidacy for mayor in September, urged for the video’s release during Monday’s City Council meeting as an example in an ongoing discussion about police de-escalation. In response, city manager Wally Bobkiewicz said the footage will be posted online Wednesday alongside an introduction to provide context for viewers.

“If we’re going to have an honest discussion on the need for de-escalation, and taking complaints against our police officers of the public seriously, this video needs to be disclosed,” Miller said. “It’s not privileged information, it’s evidence in a lawsuit, but there’s no reason we can’t disclose it.”

Miller recounted his understanding of the arrest in a statement Monday. In October 2015, Miller said Crosby was checking on his own car when another person thought he seemed suspicious and alerted the police. The statement said Crosby then got in his car and began driving down the street before being pulled over by police. Miller said in the statement that Crosby was ordered to exit the vehicle and was then hit by officers and received knee strikes.

A daily crime report from EPD said Crosby was arrested on Oct. 10 and charged with disobedience to police. The charges were dismissed at trial, but a lawsuit ledged by Crosby against the city is ongoing, Miller said.

Miller said he had not been in contact with Crosby because of the lawsuit against the city.

Evanston police Cmdr. Joseph Dugan said he had no information on the arrest and that police release videos on a case-by-case basis. Crosby, who is a PhD candidate in McCormick, could not be reached for comment.

Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl and other council members approved the release of the video immediately Monday, saying the only reason it had not been made public before was because no one had requested it.

Bobkiewicz told The Daily that the video release is another piece of the ongoing dialogue between police and committee members.

For the past few months, Bobkiewicz said, the Human Services Committee has discussed issues concerning the police, including de-escalation training.

Miller told The Daily on Tuesday that he thinks the talks have not gone far enough, and the situation has not been adequately addressed.

“For two years, I’ve been talking about a pattern with the Evanston police officers not de-escalating minor incidents where it didn’t have to lead to arrest or (other charges),” Miller said. “If our police officers took a moment to step back and examine the circumstances and de-escalate situations we wouldn’t have these types of situations.”

Another Human Services Committee is expected to continue the dialogue on Feb. 6 about police de-escalation, Bobkiewicz said. Before then, the police department will hold an open house Jan. 30 with the opportunity for residents to ask questions.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @kristinakarisch