Evanston Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl has provided a chronology of developments in the case of a Northwestern University graduate student, Lawrence Crosby. In October 2015, Crosby was tackled by police who believed he’d stolen a car that turned out to be his own.

The mayor, speaking at Monday night’s City Council meeting, also included parallel developments in a project the city began several months earlier to provide diversity and inclusion training for the city’s police officers.

Mayor Tisdahl.

Here are the mayor’s remarks:

June 22, 2015

City Council Approves Contract with Dr. Gilo Kwesi Logan for EPD Diversity and Inclusion Training.

Oct. 10, 2015

Date of Crosby Arrest

Oct. 13, 2015

Crosby files paper with Police Office of Professional Standards to begin Police Complaint process. Mr. Crosby does not continue with complaint process.

Oct. 16, 2015

City Council notified of arrest via email from Chief Eddington.

October – December, 2015

Dr. Logan conducts ten focus groups with EPD staff.

December 2015

Crosby’s criminal attorney subpoenas the City for all videos of the stop and arrest. The City, through the Law Department, fully complies with the subpoena and produces the police car video, as well as any other videos in its possession related to the incident.

Feb. 23, 2016

EPD holds “An Evening of Diversity Dialogue with Dr. Logan” at Levy Center.

March 9, 2016

The misdemeanor trial takes place in Skokie. During the trial, videos of the incident are played in open court. All people present in court, who may not have even been there to see the Crosby trial, witnessed the publically played videos in the courtroom. Relevant videos were therefore in the public domain since March 9, 2016.

March 14, 2016

City Council discusses case and sees video in Executive Session. Directs City Manager to address policy changes.

May 2016

Dr. Logan conducts 16 training sessions with EPD staff.

June 2, 2016

City Manager releases memo to City Council directing Law and Police changes to use of force procedures.

Sept. 7, 2016

Dr. Logan presents findings of his work with EPD and recommendations to be considered to Human Services Committee. Staff directed to return to Committee with information.

Oct. 4, 2016

EPD presents information on current training of de-escalation tactics to Human Services Committee.

Oct. 26, 2016

Service of the Crosby lawsuit on the individually named officers.

Dec. 2, 2016

FOIA request for Crosby video.

Dec. 5, 2016

EPD presents information to Human Services Committee requested at Sept. 7, 2016 meeting. Further discussion of de-escalation tactics, training on mental health issues, active shooter training and work with Moran Center.

Dec. 13, 2016

First case management conference in the case, Assistant City Attorney Ford asked Plaintiff’s counsel to issue a settlement demand. No response by Plaintiff as of this date.

Dec. 14, 2016

Response to FOIA request for Crosby video.

Jan. 9, 2017

Alderman Miller request for Crosby video to be made public at City Council meeting.

Jan. 11, 2017

Crosby video posted on YouTube.

Jan. 17, 2017

Assistant City Attorney Ford called Plaintiff’s counsel again and requested that a settlement demand be issued. No response as of this date.

FOIA Request (December 2016 – January 2017)

FOIA Request #16-707 was filed on Dec. 2. The City notified the requestor, Dana Fang, on Dec. 7 that a 5-day extension was necessary.

On Dec. 15, the City Clerk’s Office timely mailed a CD to the requestor (however, did not note this in the Next Request system) with the Police Department dash cam video to the address provided, 907 Washington St., Apt 1D, Evanston, IL 60202.

Ms. Fang never indicated to the City that she did not receive the CD. It is uncontroverted that on Dec. 15, the City timely released the arrest incident report.

We also responded to the request for a copy of Mr. Crosby’s dash cam video. This video was uploaded to NextRequest on Dec. 14, unfortunately it was not “published” or made public to the online system prior to closing the request.

We discovered the error on Jan. 11 and released this second video as well. The statement that the video(s) were requested but not released is demonstrably false.

To the extent that staff’s interface with the NextRequest system resulted in an incomplete publishing of the uploaded video is not evidence of some intent to conceal. Furthermore, the topic of the videos and this FOIA were discussed with Plaintiff’s attorney in open court in December, so he is aware of no “concealment” by the City. 

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. Crosby Stop

    I must be missing something Bill. I don’t honstly see the big deal in all of this after I watched the version introduced by the Evanston Police Sgt. Why didn’t the City simply mention the occurance in the first place rather thanwaiting until it became a huge issue? Or perhaps there are dozens of these kinds of videos sitting around in the archives waiting to be FOIAed? Just curious.

    1. Lots of videos

      Hi Rob,

      The police dash cams record many incidents each day. Most of them are uneventful and don’t interest anybody. None of them are released unless somebody files a FOIA request.

      Crosby’s arrest was mentioned in the police daily crime bulletin on Oct. 12, 2015.

      The video only became a huge issue after a candidate for mayor — for better or worse — turned it into one.

      And, as is obvious from the comments about the video, different people have a range of different reactions to what they see in it.

      One can imagine a different environment, in which all the videos were posted online for anybody to watch. But editing them to protect the privacy of people who happened to come in contact with the police would be extremely expensive. And a lot of people probably would prefer that their encounters with the police not be made public.

      — Bill

      1. A major problem

        I find it funny how you all do not see this as a major problem. I guess getting beat and humiliated is you guys norm. Why would the mayor want to make it a big deal. It is just another black guy being violated by those who are supposed to protect him

        1. A Major Problem

          I actually do see it as a big deal too although there are a few extenuating circumstances I think.

          First, if I get pulled over by the cops, I would never have jumped out of the car with something in mu hand … Hell, I would never have jumped out of the car at all. Wouldn’t most people just sit there and wait to find out what’s going on first? I would have. I thought that was odd.

          To your point about “just another black man …” at this point in time, good or bad, the LAST thing I would do if I was a black man stopped by the cops would be to jump out of the car with something in my hand. we’ve sen enough examples of police doing stupid things when the person they were trying to stop made no moves at all. When I watched the video again, it almost seemed like Crosby was saying “I’m here … bring it on.” That doesn’t mean I think what the cops did was right, because I don’t.

          But I can see how his behavior may have ramped things up way more than they needed to be. 

          1. Video shows major issues with police training and ethics

            I think the big deal with this video is not that the man was wrongly detained, but that police training and ethics were lacking:

            Police training: Six men tackle Crosby while screaming commands at him. One person should have been giving orders, and he should have been given time to respond. The officers dog-piled on top of him and began to punch him because he was “contracting his muscles”. If I had six people on top of me, I’d be contracting muscles, too, to keep from being crushed.

            Police ethics: Even after the heat of the moment passed (when bad decisions could simply be attributed to bad training), the video clearly captures officers discussing how they can come up with charges for Crosby. They were willing to give the man a criminal record for life to keep from admitting that they had made an error.

          2. Absolutely agree
            I echo your sentiment. Who in their right mind would jump out of the car when being pulled over? I do not agree with the force that the police used [ I dont know what circumstances warrant what happened to him ] but I cant help but put myself in the shoes of the police. [ we all know the state of relations with police and the african american community .. thanks media… ] They get a call about a possible stolen car. The get whatever details about what the man was doing to get into this car to make this lool lile a heist. They proceed to track him down and pull him over [ likely with additional support ] . Immediately after being pulled over he jumps out [ unprompted ] with something in his hand [ phone? ] and confronts police. This immediately escalates the situation. If you have a license [ or even if you dont ] you know that when you get pulled over you keep your hands visible and cooperate with the officer . No big deal. People get pulled over every day and go about their day [ obviously this was a misunderstanding because it was his car? ] . But when you jump out of that car it changes everything. It takes a split second for someone to get killed. He jumps out and immediately puts his hands up. He does not seem to cooperate with orders to get down on the ground [ although there was not much time given ] . Something does not seem right here. I also think it is dangerous for people to jump to conclusions without having all of the necessary facts.

          3. Why Get Out
            I’ve seen a lot of these comments asking, “Why did he get out of the car?” Maybe the name Philando Castile escapes your memory, but black men will NEVER forget that name or what happened to him. He was pulled over because he “fit the description” of an armed robber. He sat inside of his car, followed every direction the officer gave him, and still ended up being shot dead sitting next to his girlfriend and her four year old daughter. Many people in these comments sections hide behind their internet anonymity. When you have never had to deal with racial profiling and have never been the victim of police brutality, it is easy to decide that this man was being illogical by jumping out of his car. Put yourself in his shoes. A hoard of officers were charging towards him. Would you truthfully sit calmly if you were a black man? No way. He got out of the car to avoid getting shot for reaching for his wallet. His hands were raised and he was standing still. Did they really have to tackle him and punch him? Of course not. You can try to justify the brutality because you cannot relate to the victim, but please try to understand. White men tend to be endowed with a sense of entitlement because “law and order” in this country works in their favor. Who in their right mind would jump out of the car when being pulled over? The answer is: A person who would be shot dead for staying seated.

          4. Symptomatic of why police officer relations are strained

            I agree that there were some mis-steps by Mr. Crosby during the course of the arrest. But I don’t think any of them warranted him being tackled to the ground by five or six officers. And he was calm until they told him that the fifth amendment didn’t apply to that (when in fact it does and is the whole idea behind Miranda rights – which they also did not read to him, btw). But the most damning evidence from the released videos was the clear retaliation the officers planned for him having taken a video of them and the need to even charge him with anything in the first place. One of them even stated that Mr. Crosby was lucky he didn’t get shot. Was there any clear reason why he would have or should have been shot? That is clear bullying and intimidation by an authority figure, and serves no purpose whatsoever. It is also a perfect example of a complete abuse of authority by police officers. Instead of saying, “I’m sorry. We made a mistake. This car is yours,” they instead doubled down, charged him for resisting arrest (for an unlawful arrest for….stealing his own car?) and disobeying police officers. Then they dragged the case on and on. That is absolutely unforgivable and is also symptomatic of why police officer relations are strained in this country. In cases where they should admit their mistakes and let someone go, they try to cover their tracks and charge the man, even when they knew it was his car.

          5. EPD

            While I admire the dedication of the EPD, and the good things they do….this is why there needed to be dashcams, etc.  I hope he enjoys his very large check he’ll be getting from the city.  He deserves it!

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