St. Paul police defend Chris Lollie arrest; lawyers question aggressive use of force

ChrisLollie1.jpg
Chris Lollie photo via Facebook
:::: UPDATE :::: First National Bank Building asked folks to "enjoy seat" where Chris Lollie sat before arrest

In the wake of the stir caused by the hard-to-watch footage of Chris Lollie's arrest in the First National Bank Building skyway while he waited to pick up his kids from school, the St. Paul Police Department took to Facebook in an attempt to justify officers' conduct.

Lollie, however, tells us the PD's version of events isn't accurate, and lawyers we spoke with questioned why cops would use a taser on a man alleged to have committed such minor offenses.

See also:
St. Paul PD defends killing dogs while executing search warrant that didn't lead to arrest

First, here's the entirety of the statement the St. Paul PD posted to Facebook yesterday:
Thank you for the discussion regarding the video that was has been circulated from a January 31, 2014 arrest.

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.

We have had a discussion with the man in the video and he was given information on how to file a formal complaint if that was his desire. At this time, no formal complaint has been filed.

We hope this helps to clear up some of the information our communities have been seeking.
We spoke to Lollie last night and asked him about the trespassing allegation.

"It's all false," he says. "They lied."

Lollie says he was sitting in a chair in the skyway's hallway when a security guard approached him, told him he was in a private area, and threatened to call police if he didn't leave. But Lollie didn't see any signs specifying that the area was employees-only or private in any other way, so he decided to hold tight, confident police would have his back if they showed up.

Officers showed up shortly thereafter, and Lollie says he started filming his now-infamous video after the first cop on the scene grabbed him.

As we told you about yesterday, Lollie was eventually charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, and obstructing the legal process. Law enforcement kept his phone until the charges were dropped in July, meaning Lollie wasn't able to upload his footage to YouTube until quite recently.

Asked why the charges were dropped, Lollie says one of his daughter's teachers saw the entire incident and corroborated his version of events. Lollie says another woman who works near the First National Bank Building told investigators she would often sit and have lunch in the stretch of skyway where Lollie was arrested and had never been badgered by security guards or police.

With those two witness statements working in Lollie's favor, prosecutors decided to drop the charges, and Lollie was finally reunited with his phone.

We spoke with Robert Bennett, arguably the Twin Cities' foremost police misconduct attorney, and asked him what he makes of the footage.

(For more, click to page two.)


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301 comments
didarulislam234
didarulislam234

He couldn't leave the skyway without his kids. That's what he was trying to explain to the police. One of the witnesses said she would sit in the same area he was waiting in and eat her lunch there. Why was it ok for her? She backed up his story along with his kid's teacher. That's why the charges were dropped. He did not break any laws. He did not deserve to be harassed, arrested, or tased. He had every right to be there. Wait until something like this happens to you, then maybe you'll start to question authority.

http://www.bailbondinlongbeach.com

c7kec
c7kec

I used to work security in the First National Bank building.  I can attest for a 100% certainty there is NO public seating area in the Skyway within the building itself.  There are about six chairs with small coffee tables in front of them.  The idea is to allow for commuting traffic to have a comfortable place to sit while conducting business within the FNBB.  


It is not for general public to sit, kick back, relax, wait for the bus across the street, or your kids in daycare etc...Lollie was blocks away from his daughter's school if he was waiting here and out of sight of it.  


The security at the FNBB are required to observe the area and approach people who are seated there if it is suspected they are not there on business.  Generally speaking when I worked there I would wait 5-6 minutes before approaching - just to give them some time to figure out it wasn't public, and at that point if they hadn't I'd kindly inform them that it wasn't public. 


Also, it sounds like Lollie was a repeat problem and had been approached several other times as well.  The security there were just doing their job when Lollie refused to listen to them.  They are security, and they work for the FNBB management and management is very strict there.  Lollie should have taken them at their word and moved on instead of bucking them and insisting they were in the wrong.  There are no signs in that area, but that area is deep within the privately owned Skyway, not the publicly owned Skyway 50 yards away.  Maybe now things will change and a sign will go up.  

keithfail
keithfail

The reason that @gumpsdanielson Gumps doesn't understand why this guy would not just cooperate and explain to the cops what he was up to, which sounds like a reasonable request, is that white people don't have the same experience of day to day reality in this country as black people do.  Gumps, if you had been continually harassed by everyone from cops to clerks to security guards all your life you would be likely to be a bit belligerent as well. 

This is what most white people don't understand.  It is called white privilege and it is so out of our normal awareness that we can't see how it is for people of color because their lives and the way that they are treated on average is so different than the way we are treated.  So we say, surely we have gotten beyond this race issue.  But if you are a person of color you know that race is a daily problem that just doesn't go away simply because we wish it would or even because we have laws that are supposed to assure equality. 

Race is not going to quit being an issue until white people and people of color can see that they are the same to the point of marrying and no body thinking any thing of it. 


With every funeral, the world gets a little bit better. 

AmyAlkon
AmyAlkon

If the area was not marked as employees only, it was entirely reasonable for the guy to assume that someone was asking him to leave for spurious reasons (like that he's a black guy or a dreadlocked black guy). 


None of us like to be controlled by others and I celebrate people (and we all should) who non-violently protest thuggery and abuse -- like Chris Lollie, by holding his ground. 


The thugs -- in cop uniforms -- decided to abuse their power and tase him and throw him in a cage. This needs to stop and the officers here need to be charged and dealt with under the law, not coddled and protected by the police department.

tbloom50
tbloom50

It seems that the male officer thought he had to protect the female officer and show how macho he was.  But it also looks like St. Paul needs to come up with a lot of money.  Especially since the charges cannot be substantiated, and because others who use the same seating were not challenged.  Seems like the bank also has a problem and will be sued in conjunction with the city and police.

mdh2133
mdh2133

Chris Lollie, if you're reading this, I'm a lawyer who doesn't work for profit and I'm interested in making sure you're getting sound legal advice.  If you want a first second or third (etc.) opinion, email stpaulskywaysarepublic@gmail.com.  Be well. 

gumpsdanielson
gumpsdanielson

but boy oh boy if it went reverse meaning, this man was left to sit in a possible unrestricted area, near a school, in a hallway that he is being told is restricted, even if the sign in not there or not apparent, if this incident turned different where as possibly something else horribly when awry, a bomb, a school shooting, etc. the police would get flack for not doing their job and protecting - police cant win. Why couldnt the young gentleman, I dont care what color he is, simply say, Oh I didnt realize it was an unrestricted area, and no problem , duly noted, I will move, but perhaps then it should be marked better if that's the case, and go about his business.  He was told it was  an unrestricted area, what more did he need to hear, just comply? 

edwardearl_earl
edwardearl_earl

Without any hesitation, these cops should be fired instantly. No need to wait for them to be prosecuted. 


They have abused their position, and there can be no excuses. We, the people, are not here to serve the police or to be subservient to the police. They are there to protect and serve us. They are there to provide a service for us. We are their customers. If any business had employees who assaulted a customer for no good reason, you would expect those employees to be fired. A little bit of extra training will not change their attitudes. They are bad apples, and the police should be in fear of consequences if they abuse their positions.  


The fact that their chief defends them, makes him as culpable as they are, and I have to conclude that the racist and bullying attitudes are systemic. It is institutional and goes from the very top to the bottom.  

Irma_Gerd
Irma_Gerd

@vesemurphy posted below a link to the FNB Building's Facebook page where they explicitly invite the public to take a break and sit in that space. I sent the link to the author of this article, as well as to a couple other reporters at other outlets and Mr. Lollie's lawyer. I'm glad to see that the StarTribune has published an article drawing attention to it. Thanks vesemurphy, this information ought to make Mr. Lollie's civil rights violation cases against the building's management and whoever provides their security and against the police significantly stronger.

http://www.startribune.com/local/stpaul/273348971.html#5tEjYSol1b6OPkKm.01

samres1
samres1

The Chris Lollie's  phone was confiscated and the evidence tampered with.  Well, here's something that EVERY person should have...especially if they're Black and have a run-in with Law Enforcment: 


Unlawful Stop:  Unlawful Stop is a combination of apps and devices that upload to social media and human/civil rights websites!  That way when the cops confiscate your camera, phone, etc, the data is already uploaded to a secure location.  Also, some of the Unlawful stop systems are DISCRETE...that means a watch you're wearing, or ipod you have, etc., to make it more difficult for the abusers of power to find, confiscate, and tamper with the evidence.  I'm buying one of these as soon as I get my next paycheck:


http://unlawfulstop.com/


bsmall66.bs
bsmall66.bs

@c7kec Then why were the two women that came forward on his behalf not harassed by security or the Police for doing the exact same thing????Because evidently a black man sitting there is somehow suspicious,and the two white ladies,not so much.You can't be this blind,it was obvious,they were racist.if he committed no crime,he didn't have to give his name,but the police didn't care about that.Racism the bastard child of slavery alive and well.@c7kec 

iceman4god
iceman4god

@c7kec "But the mental capacity of many officers today is questionable." With no signs designating the area as "private" with eyewitness collaborating Lollie's statements that it is a public area, you sir are an an example of that statement. Additionally in another story elsewhere IQ testing for security and police work eliminates those with higher IQ's with the reasoning that those with higher IQ's would become bored with the job and retention would be a problem. For Obvious reasons then the charges are dropped and with a good lawyer that security firm and PD will be making a hefty contribution to his kids scholarship fund.

Irma_Gerd
Irma_Gerd

@c7kec 

Then why is there a public post on the First National Bank Building's Facebook page inviting people to take a break there?

ceanf9
ceanf9

@c7kec lick those boots buddy. lick hard enough and they might let you join their fraternity one day. until then, unarmed cop caller it is!

sukibarnstorm
sukibarnstorm

@c7kec The problem here is not whether the space is private or public.  If Mr. Lollie was white the security guard would have just told him that this was not a public space and he should move on.  But they called the police and then asked for his ID.  There was no need for that and it just escalated from there.  We need to have police that are color blind and treat all people the same.

atrupar
atrupar moderator

@c7kec Thanks for sharing this. Would you be up for talking with me about your experience working as a security guard? Drop me a line at atrupar@gmail.com if so!

2bitbob
2bitbob

@keithfail - Are you referring to the fact blacks have been enslaved and racially abused, when in america or are you referring to other races that have had this done to them, who do not behave like this?  If I recall, you don't see your fellow masters of "en-slavering" people in Africa acting like this either, and they ran one of the biggest slave trades ever.


The fact is, when a police office asks you what you are doing, you reply our of interest for your own community.  You don;t have to bow down to oppression, you act responsible and humble.


This guy could have said, sorry I am waiting for my four kids to get out of school.  Now had the police taken the same course of action then, he would get the sympathy of everyone on this planet.  But instead, he used a weak excuse, the same excuse most of his Hip Hop wannabes use for gang violence.


2bitbob
2bitbob

@AmyAlkon - It's not control until you relinquish the mental capacity to understand people's well being.  They were not asking for his credit card or his wannabe fake hip hop lyrics.  They were just making sure we are all safe.

2bitbob
2bitbob

@mdh2133 - why not represent all those who are affected by gang violence.. sounds like a better service to the community.

sukibarnstorm
sukibarnstorm

@gumpsdanielson But he was not "politely" asked to move on because this was a restricted area.  He was asked for his ID first.  Where was the nice polite police officer just letting him know that he shouldn't be waiting in that area?

maxpolaris
maxpolaris

@gumpsdanielson You are an idiot. Do you proofread what you type?

It seems to me if it was an unrestricted area , then he had every right to be there.

I hope that security officer bitch that started all this dies of cunt cancer and the pig that tazed him ends up in a state prison  and gets AIDS pumped up his ass every night.

maxpolaris
maxpolaris

@gumpsdanielson You are an idiot. Do you proofread what you type?

It seems to me if it was an unrestricted area , then he had every right to be there.

I hope that security officer bitch that started all this dies of cunt cancer and the pig that tazed him ends up in a state prison  and gets AIDS pumped up his ass every night.

mdh2133
mdh2133

@gumpsdanielson He didn't just move because it wasn't a restricted area; that was obvious bullshit.

edwardearl_earl
edwardearl_earl

@gumpsdanielson 


Some questions:


Are you saying that to be vigilant the police should have searched him for illegal firearms or a bomb? 


Should they have done the same for other people in the same area?


Have you not read that it isn't a restricted area, and the public are actively encouraged to use that area?


Are you saying that in an area that isn't restricted, the man should have moved on when the police falsely told him it was a restricted area?


Would you be fully compliant and completely happy to be told to move on if you were sitting in a public area minding your own business? 

2bitbob
2bitbob

@edwardearl_earl Sounds like a good plan - can we sterilize those people having lots of kids and still claiming benefits too?  I thought not.  

c7kec
c7kec

@bsmall66.bs I'm not sure why, but from my understanding security had a shot history of Lollie doing this before and had spoken to him about it.  Like every bad decision a person makes in life there are negative consequences to follow.  Personally I think the police handled him too strongly and a simple warning would have been sufficient. 

c7kec
c7kec

@iceman4god Where's that story that you read "elsewhere?"  I'd really like see what kind of evidence is out there to "prove" that. You sound like a whackjob conspiracy theorist.    

c7kec
c7kec

@iceman4god Eyewitnesses account for no signs?  I got news for you, most private places don't put up signs saying "private area".  It makes no difference however.  The failure of having an apparent mental capacity is on you.

c7kec
c7kec

@Irma_Gerd  You raise a good point, and it's one of the policies they have there that is confusing.  When I worked there I was trained in by security staff; who were instructed by bldg management; whom had declared that area reserved for commuters doing business within the FNBB.  It wasn't terribly hard to distinguish between who was taking advantage of the gesture vs. people actually working and taking a break as you say.  


I'm not saying the security did the right thing in this case, I wasn't there, but they certainly did have the right to contact the police to bring a resolution to the problem if they felt they weren't getting through.  

c7kec
c7kec

@sukibarnstorm @c7kec You're wrong and you don't know the security there - half of which are minority themselves, so quit painting everyone with a broad brush and hating.  When I was working I was color blind - if you weren't allowed to be in a certain area it was never personal nor prejudicial based on someone's race, just management policy, and few people didn't understand. 


Across the street from where this happens is one of the most crime-ridden bus stops in St. Paul.  If security allowed people to seat themselves in that area it would have been an attraction for loitering and vagrancy in no time flat, and security would have lost their job. Mr. Lollie was warned, didn't comply and answered to the authorities for it.  I have no comment on how the authorities handled it from that point, but I know from having worked there security did a sufficient job and were plenty fair to Lollie.

bsmall66.bs
bsmall66.bs

You sir are so off base its not even worth trying to bring you back home.

sbreezy
sbreezy

@2bitbob @keithfail He clearly stated that he was waiting on his children and not doing anything illegal or aggressive.  His tone was moderated and he didn't get violent.  If you watch the video, he did exactly what you are suggesting he should do but didn't get the results that you would get, he got the results that a person of color dealing with the law would get.  

isadorehannon
isadorehannon

@2bitbob @AmyAlkon whats up with the reference to hip hop as an answer? That i a racial undertone you are taking right now. Thats part of the problem. Unless you can walk in a mans shoes you really dont have an idea.

AmyAlkon
AmyAlkon

@2bitbob @AmyAlkon You really don't get it, 2bitbob -- about our civil liberties. By violating them -- by officers of the law violating them -- we are enormously unsafe. 


As Conor Friedersdorf wrote at The Atlantic: 


Lollie is also absolutely correct that no law required him to show an ID to police officers. As Flex Your Rights explains, "Police can never compel you to identify yourself without reasonable suspicion to believe you're involved in illegal activity," and while 24 states have passed "stop and identify" statutes "requiring citizens to reveal their identity when officers have reasonable suspicion to believe criminal activity may be taking place," Minnesota isn't one of those states.


Also, as I wrote in my own blog comments on this story: Anyone can accuse you of anything. Cops should not be cops if they cannot apply some judiciousness and understand that people will make accusations and call for their assistance -- and really, 911 because a guy is sitting on a bench -- and that those accusations might not be about an actual crime being committed.

MNjoe
MNjoe topcommenter

@maxpolaris Please get yourself some help for your mental condition. 

2bitbob
2bitbob

@edwardearl_earl @gumpsdanielson - if there is reasonable suggestion, yes search.  But again the idiot failed to answer the questions until it was too late.  This guy is another wannabe hip hop star who claims benefits and yet, still keeps having kids....

dbs1970
dbs1970

@c7kec @bsmall66.bs This just blows my mind.  The guy is minding his own business waiting for his kids.  Egad...

iceman4god
iceman4god

c7kec That would be you, since you failed to find it on the web, you need to expand your skill sets beyond "observe and report".

gonridnu
gonridnu

@c7kec @sukibarnstorm apparently you are wrong and don't know the security there mr "I used to be a security guard" ... CNN is reporting the police have confirmed it was indeed a public area.


So the question is why would an ex security guard (laughs out loud a little) think he knows what is and isn't a private area.  


A.   Because he was told it was so.  He then took those words o heart without a challenge.  And then he went on the internet and parroted those words without thinking and checking.  And then he gave us a living example of how this all came to pass.  


Th ignorant were given a badge, a stick, and a belief...



isadorehannon
isadorehannon

@2bitbob @edwardearl_earl @gumpsdanielson Wow! I keep looking at your comments and it's so racial. What is really wrong here? Now you are saying he keep having kids? Where did that come from? Check your motives man. You are definitely why this type of things keep happening in our society. The stereotypes you are displaying through words is sad.

c7kec
c7kec

@iceman4god You're truly a douche bag with a low IQ.  Find the report,copy it, paste it on here - the burden of proof is on you moron as you are the one who claims it exists.  

c7kec
c7kec

@gonridnu @c7kec @sukibarnstorm You want to insult me for what I did for a living then fine.  Meet me somewhere and do it to my face.  I'm pretty sure that armchair bravado you exude dissolves the moment we come face to face (laughs out loud, a little), ass.  


As for CNN - they don't own the property itself, and if the nature of that property is in dispute let a court of law discern the outcome, but the private nature of that property - per building management - included that specific area.  Security was doing what it was told to do.  

c7kec
c7kec

@iceman4god I'm overwhelmingly impressed by the arguments made in the article (well, er not really).  One lower court in New York makes a ruling and you assume that's a national standardized practice.  Laughable.  



iceman4god
iceman4god

@c7kec, Three important things to note you moron;

1. That you are the moron. 

2. That the practice of hiring morons has become the norm and, 

3. That court allowed it.


Three strikes your out.


It is you that is truly laughable, thanks for the entertainment. 


I won't be responding to any further moronic dribble from you.


Good Luck!

c7kec
c7kec

@iceman4god Ok, now you went from straight moron, to just a pure pussy.  


Oh, and make sure you remember to put fries in my order next time.


Douche.  



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