Evanston, Illinois: Unarmed Black Grad Student Beaten, Arrested, and Tried—for Driving His Own Car

January 16, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


In October 2015, Lawrence Crosby was driving his car in Evanston, just north of Chicago, when he was pulled over by police. Crosby was a Ph.D. candidate at the Northwestern University McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. He got out of the car with his arms raised, as ordered. But within seconds he was attacked by at least five cops who wrestled him to the ground, handcuffed him, and then kicked and punched him. Crosby was arrested and put on trial for two felony charges—and, fortunately, acquitted.

This would have been one of the countless incidences of racist police profiling and violence that only a few people know about—except the Evanston police were just recently forced to release the dash-cam video of their pigs violently assaulting Lawrence Crosby. The video shows the police goons mobbing Crosby, who is not resisting at all. He calls the cops “sir” and tells them calmly that he is a grad student at Northwestern, that the car belongs to him, and that he has documents to prove this. But the cops continue their assault, even as they yell at him to “stop resisting.” To these cops—and to pigs in cities across the U.S.—a Black man raising any questions about the unjust actions of the police is grounds for brutal beating... and even the taking of a life. Even as they released the video of the cops beating Crosby, an Evanston police official said “it was determined that the force used in this incident was in compliance with our procedures as it pertains to this type of situation.”

Off-camera on the dash-cam video of the beating of Crosby, a woman who had called the police and told them she thought Crosby was stealing a car, is heard telling a cop, "I didn't mean to like racially profile. I feel bad." The cop tells her that “he’s got a different issue going on now.” No—racial profiling was exactly the issue. Lawrence Crosby’s only “crime” was Driving While Black.

What does it tell you when a grad student at a major college, who happens to be African-American, is treated this way by the pigs? That the police—and the oppressors’ system they serve—consider a whole people as “criminals” who must be terrorized into submission. And as bad as this situation is now, think about how much worse it will get for Black and other oppressed people if the Trump-Pence fascist regime is allowed to rule—with their “law and order” program of giving even more free rein to the racist, murdering pigs. This must not be allowed to happen, and it is in the hands of the millions who hate all this to act now to stop it. Go to RefuseFascism.org for more.

And furthermore—this system of capitalism-imperialism brings down intolerable horrors and suffering on billions of people worldwide. This system subjects women, half of humanity, to degradation and sexual violence. It is driving the whole planet and life on it toward environmental catastrophe. It’s a system that has now produced a fascist cabal set to rule the most powerful imperialist power. Whether or not there is an open tyrannical form of political rule, this is a dictatorship of the ruling capitalist class that uses its police, military, and state power against the people here and around the world. This system is totally illegitimate and must be overthrown, through actual revolution. Learn about how we can make such a revolution; the leadership we have for this revolution in Bob Avakian; and a vision and concrete plan, written by Bob Avakian, for a radically new society to replace this system.


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