CNN commentator Harry Houck and Morehouse College professor Marc Lamont Hill got into a heated exchange Monday over the violent 2015 arrest of a Black Northwestern University engineering doctoral candidate accused of stealing his own car.
During the Jan. 16 edition of “At This Hour With John Berman and Kate Bolduan,” Hill began recounting being stopped for trying to enter his own car. While he admitted that he was not treated the same way, he insisted that this is a routine occurrence to Black people.
“This is a very common story that happens to Black people,” Hill says. “The fact that he was a doctoral student, I hate that we have to add that to the conversation. Even if he was a garbage man. Even if he was a janitor. Even if he was a secretary, that still shouldn’t happen.”
On Oct. 10, 2015, the victim, Lawrence Crosby, was working on his car late that evening when a woman passed by and suspected him of stealing the vehicle. She called 911 and followed the man and relayed information to 911 dispatcher. Evanston, Illinois, police located him and pulled Crosby over in a church parking lot.
Footage from that night released last week show officers beat and aggressively take down Crosby after he got out of the car and put his hands up. Hill said Crosby was complying with officers and was not a threat to officers.
“He was told to go down on the ground,” Houck said. “He did not go on the ground, maybe he didn’t go down on the ground fast enough.”
Houck said Crosby made a mistake getting out of the car with his keys in his hand and the commentator implied that this action triggered the officers’ response.
Hill didn’t buy that. He said Crosby didn’t know how to respond to police because may not have been arrested before.
“[Crosby] wasn’t instructed to stay in the car,” Hill says. “It is not that uncommon for someone who isn’t familiar with getting arrested to jump out of a car.”
Both commentators agreed that officers may not have come into the situation with the intent to rough up Crosby. However, Hill pointed out that a Stanford University study shows that officers view African-Americans as older and more guilty than white counterparts.
Houck refused to acknowledge the researcher’s findings. He claimed that his 40 years as an officer were more significant than the study’s findings.
“Are you hearing what I’m saying?” Hill asks. Houck refused to look at him. “You think he took a poll, then you don’t understand. It is a study of actual police officers, real people with real science and real studies.”
“I don’t buy it,””Houck maintains.
“You don’t buy science?” Hill asks.
“I don’t buy that because I have experience out on the street,” Houck insists.
Crosby was charged with resisting arrest and disobeying officers in the 2015 incident, but a judge threw out those charges, Fox 32 reported. Now, Crosby has a 2016 civil rights lawsuit pending against Evanston police.