City reaches settlement in police lawsuit

Lawrence Crosby, shown in a police dashcam video after he stepped out of his car during the traffic stop.

The City of Evanston has reached a settlement in a lawsuit filed by Lawrence Crosby, a Northwestern University graduate student stopped, tackled and arrested by police after a 911 caller claimed he'd stolen what turned out to be his own car.

Criminal charges against Crosby in the October 10, 2015, incident, were dismissed, and it became an issue in the 2017 mayoral election after Crosby filed his civil suit and police released dashcam video and police radio and 911 telephone audio recordings related to the incident.

It also led to changes in the department's procedure for handling felony traffic stops.

A news release issued this afternoon by the law firm representing Crosby indicates that a settlement was reached before jury selection began in the trial of the civil suit, which had been scheduled to get underway on Jan. 10.

City Manager Wally Bobkiewicz, in response to questions from Evanston Now, described the settlement as "a compromise of disputed claims." He added that  "the parties have not admitted any liability or the validity of any defense in the litigation."

He declined to comment on whether the settlement includes any payment by the city to Crosby.

The settlement still requires City Council approval and the Council is scheduled to review the settlement at its Jan. 28 meeting.


Update 1/21/19: Some media reports indicate the city has agreed to pay Crosby $1.25 million as part of the settlement.

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