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At the request of Alderman Brian Miller, 9th Ward, City Council decided on Jan. 9 to make public the video of the arrest of a Northwestern University graduate student (“the NU student”). The arrest took place on Oct. 10, 2015.

According to the police report, on Oct. 10, 2015, police responded to a caller who had reported seeing an African American male wearing a hooded sweatshirt and carrying a “bar.” The caller believed the bar was used to “jimmy” open the door of a car in order to steal it. In fact, the NU student was the owner of the car and was checking a previous repair.

The police report said, “After the vehicle was stopped, the driver immediately exited the vehicle and approached the officers with a dark-colored object in his hand (later identified as a cell-phone) without being ordered to exit the vehicle. Once outside the vehicle, [Officer 1] and I ordered [“the NU student”] to show his hands and get on the ground. [The NU student]  put his hands up, refused to drop a cell phone that he was holding, and refused to get on the ground. [The NU student] was ordered several more times to get on the ground. [The NU student] again refused. I approached [the NU student] with [Officer 1] and [Officer 2], where he was ordered again to get on the ground. [The NU] student again refused to get on the ground and was eventually taken to the ground by [Officer  1],  [Officer 2] and me.

“Once on the ground, [“the NU student”] was ordered to flip to his stomach and place his hands behind his back. [“The NU student”] refused orders, tensed his body/arms, forced his weight against officers, attempting to face officers and defeat arrest. At this point, I utilized two knee strikes to [the NU student’s] lower back.” Eventually Officer 2 succeeded in handcuffing the NU student, the report said.

The report also notes that the caller who believed the NU student had stolen the car had been following the NU student in his own car. The NU student reportedly knew someone was following him and was headed to the Northwestern University police station, located at Davis Street and Ridge Avenue, when he was stopped at 1509 Ridge Ave., in front of St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.

The police report says the NU student was advised of his Miranda rights and was charged with disobedience to police and resisting police, which are City violations.

Those charges were dismissed at trial. The NU student has since sued the City.

In a prepared statement, Ald. Miller said, “More so than any other incident, the video of [the NU student] arrest demonstrates the pressing need for Evanston Police Officers to be trained in de-escalation and for our complaint review process to be revamped to make the video public.”

Ald. Miller had prepared for consideration a resolution and said he hoped to have the matter discussed at the Feb. 6 Human Services Committee meeting.

“Why don’t we release it now?” said Mayor Elizabeth Tisdahl. The video is expected to be on the City’s website shortly.

The Video of the Arrest Has Been Released

The video can be viewed here.

Mary Gavin

Mary Gavin is the founder of the Evanston RoundTable. After 23 years as its publisher and manager, she helped transition the RoundTable to nonprofit status in 2021. She continues to write, edit, mentor...