UPDATED: Racism In St. Paul: Man Tased And Arrested

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Staff note: This event is reported to have occurred last winter but the video was just released this week. It is an example of the kinds of events that happen daily across the United States and it’s why we must unite to end racist and militaristic policing and unite to hold conversations in our communities about racism. CLICK HERE TO SEND AN EMAIL TO THE DEPT. OF JUSTICE. And here is a website , Organizing for Power, with resources for discussing racism and oppression.

St. Paul cops taser and arrest black male for sitting in public space waiting for his children to get out of school.

A video showing the arrest of a black St. Paul man for allegedly sitting in a public space and refusing to give up his name surfaced yesterday, Aug. 26 — only weeks after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri re-sparked the national debate on race and police profiling.

The video, shot by the man’s cellphone, shows his interaction with officers as he attempts to pick up his children from New Horizon Academy in downtown St. Paul. As the officers force the man to put his hands behind his back, he drops his phone and the video goes black, but the audio continues and we hear the man crying for help and proclaiming that his kids are watching. Both officers in the video are white.

“Why do I have to let you know who I am?” the man tells the first female officer at the beginning of the video. “I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws.”

From the following dialogue, it appears the police were called by a store clerk, who was upset over the man sitting in front of his store. The man in the video tells the officer he was sitting in front of the store for 10 minutes as he waited for his kids to get out of school, and that the area is public and he had a right to sit there.

“The problem was —” the female officer begins.

“The problem is I’m black,” the man fires back. “It really is, because I’m not sitting there with a group of people. I’m sitting there by myself. By myself, not causing a problem.”

Eventually a second male officer approaches the man in the video and attempts to restrain him.

“I’ve got to go get my kids,” the man tells the second officer, pulling his arm away. “Please don’t touch me.”

“You’re going to go to jail then,” the second officer says.

“I’m not doing anything wrong,” the man replies.

At this point, both officers grab the man.

“Come on brother,” the man says, “This is assault.”

“I’m not your brother,” the second officer replies. “Put your hands behind your back otherwise it’s going to get ugly.”

Eventually the officers start to cuff the man and he drops his cellphone and the video goes black.

“I haven’t done anything wrong!” we hear the man yell. “Can somebody help me? That’s my kids, right there! My kids are right there!”

“Put your hands behind your back!” the male officer screams.

We hear the flicker of a Taser and the man screams out. As they move away from the cellphone, the man continues to plea to passersby to help him.

In the distance the scene calms down and the man continues to explain to the officers that he still hasn’t broken any laws, that he stayed calm, didn’t curse and wasn’t attempting to flee — making cuffing him and tasering him unnecessary.

“I didn’t do anything wrong. I’m a working man. I take care of my kids. And I get this?” we hear him say. “And you tase me. For what? I don’t have any weapons. You’re the ones with the weapons here.”

Watch the video below:

(Warning: Video contains some disturbing content)

Update on Aug. 28, 2014 by Kristoffer Tigue in the Twin Cities Daily Planet

St. Paul man from cellphone arrest video identified; police dropped charges in July

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(Photo courtesy of Christopher Lollie) Chris Lollie and his two-year old son, C.J.

UPDATED:

The man in a recently released cellphone video who was tasered and arrested by St. Paul police officers after refusing to give up his name has stepped forward on Wednesday, Aug. 27 after posting the video online. St. Paul police dropped charges on July 31.

Christopher Lollie, 28, said he was waiting to pick up his two year-old and four year-old children from New Horizon Academy’s daycare around 9:43 a.m. on Jan. 31, when a security guard from the First National Bank building asked him to leave the area where he was sitting. The guard then called the St. Paul Police Department when Lollie refused to do so, he said.

According to the police report, St. Paul police officers Michael Johnson and Bruce Schmidt “were called to the First National Bank Building on a report of uncooperative male refusing to leave.” The third female officer in the video has been identified as Lori Hayne, and has since retired, reports the Pioneer Press. The name of the security guard that Lollie claims made the call was omitted from the police report “due to safety concerns.” Lollie was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process.

The St. Paul Police Department did not return our calls in time for this report, but released this statement:

“As is often the case, the video does not show the totality of the circumstances.

Our officers were called by private security guards on a man who was trespassing in a private area. The guards reported that the man had on repeated occasions refused to leave a private “employees only” area in the First National Bank Building.

With no information on who the man was, what he might be doing or why he refused to leave the area, responding Saint Paul police officers tried to talk to him, asking him who he was. He refused to tell them or cooperate.

Our officers are called upon and required to respond to calls for assistance and to investigate the calls. At one point, the officers believed he might either run or fight with them. It was then that officers took steps to take him into custody. He pulled away and resisted officers’ lawful orders. They then used the force necessary to safely take him into custody.

The man was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process. Those charges were dismissed in July.”

“Why do I have to let you know who I am?” Lollie asks officer Hayne in the video. “I don’t have to let you know who I am if I haven’t broken any laws.”

Soon, two more officers show up and restrain Lollie as he continues to explain he’s done nothing wrong. The following struggle results in Lollie being tasered and arrested.

Minnesota does not currently have a ‘stop and identify’ statute in place that would give police the right to arrest someone for not identifying himself.

By the time the police arrived, Lollie said he had already left the spot to go meet his kids by the daycare and expected the officers to disregard the call, since he believed the areas to be public. “[What did happen] was the complete opposite of what I expected to happen,” Lollie said.

Even if he wanted to, he couldn’t provide identification, he said, since his wallet was stolen along with his I.D. earlier that month.

Lollie said that at the time of the incident he was working a temp job cleaning at Cossetta’s, just down the road from New Horizon. He and his girlfriend were separated then, he said, so she would drop their children off at the daycare in the morning and he’d pick them up when he got off of work.

His children had been attending New Horizon for about 9 months at that time, he said, so many people at the school already knew who he was. Luckily, he said, his children weren’t there to witness the incident since the children’s mother still hadn’t arrived. But Lollie’s children’s classmates and teacher all witnessed the event, he said.

“The teacher actually gave me a witness statement, stating that ‘he was calm, he wasn’t doing anything wrong, he was talking to them, and they just started assaulting him,’” he said.

Since then, Lollie said he fought the charges and because of the teacher’s statement and the footage from the building’s security cameras, all charges against him were dropped as of July 31.

Lollie said he couldn’t post the video until his confiscated phone was returned, but that he also didn’t want to post it because it hurt to watch.

“It hurts, it really does,” he said. “Because no matter what — I could be the nicest guy in the world, talk with respect, I can be working, taking care of my kids, doing everything a model citizen is supposed to do — and still I get that type of treatment.”

Currently, Lollie said he’s taking his case to internal affairs and hopes to bring the officers who assaulted him to justice.

“[Posting the video] makes me feel empowered,” he said.

Further Update: Gawker reportsThe St. Paul Police Department said on Twitter that no investigation into the officers’ behavior has been conducted because ‘no formal complaint has been made at this point.'”

  • Further Update: Gawker reports “The St. Paul Police Department said on Twitter that no investigation into the officers’ behavior has been conducted because ‘no formal complaint has been made at this point.’”

    That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve read in some time.

  • kevinzeese

    Yes, ridiculous that the police do not investigate themselves when an officer violates peoples rights. Thankfully, the victim of this abuse is going to pursue it, so that excuse will not exist for long.

  • Trish House

    My blood is boiling! Police are so deeply stupid, mean, violent, emotionally unstable that if you talk to them like an individual with integrity and pride they fall on you like vicious dogs and make your life hell. I’m sick to death of paying for them to exist. Let’s stop funding this and let them all experience homelessness for a while so they understand what it takes to survive in this Godawful environment.

  • James Hutchcroft

    The cop was on the news the other day proclaiming he was not a bad person; I say bull; we have become a police state and these cops think they are above the law. Thank God there are cameras everywhere, these pigs need to be jailed!

  • dhjin

    racism is strong in america..