City attorney: Lollie incident happened in public area of St. Paul skyway

Author:
Updated:
Original:

The St. Paul city attorney says the man who posted a video online of a controversial encounter with police in a St. Paul skyway was actually seated in the public area, not in private property as a security guard reported to officers before the incident, the Pioneer Press reports.

Chris Lollie, 28, posted a cellphone video that showed him being confronted by police in the Jan. 31 incident.

Lollie said he was in a skyway-level seating area in the First National Bank Building, waiting to pick up his children from a nearby preschool, when a guard told him to leave because he was trespassing. Lollie refused, saying he believed the area was a public space, so the guard called police.

When the officers arrived, they asked Lollie his name and he declined to give it. Police said Lollie pulled away and resisted them, so they used a stun gun to subdue and arrest him.

The video he posted, called "Black man taken to jail for sitting in public area," has been viewed nearly 1.2 million times online and has attracted national attention since it was posted on YouTube last week. Much of the legal discussion surrounding the incident has focused on whether Lollie was indeed sitting in a public area, or trespassing on private property.

Following the incident, Lollie was charged with misdemeanor trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process. However the St. Paul City Attorney's Office dismissed the charges against him July 31.

The Pioneer Press said St. Paul City Attorney Sara Grewing explained the decision to dismiss the case Wednesday.

"Our job is not to second-guess the decision that officers on the streets make to maintain order and protect the public," Grewing said. "Our job as prosecutors is to determine whether those elements of a crime are present to prove to a jury, and we just didn't have that here."

He announced his intention to file a complaint and sue the city last week.

“I want to see cops really answer for how they treat people,” Lollie told the Star Tribune. “My civil rights were violated.”

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has asked the city’s Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission to do a full review of the incident. Coleman said he had a "productive" meeting with African-American community leaders about the incident Monday afternoon.

Next Up

Kirk Cousins

Report: Kellen Mond has COVID, Cousins among players out of practice

The team is scheduled to practice on Saturday night.

USPS packages

Two Ramsey County men sentenced in mail theft scheme

Sonny Vang Xiong was sentenced to three years in prison, while Davis Her was sentenced to six and a half years in prison.

Jeff Gladney

Jeff Gladney's ex-girlfriend files $1 million civil lawsuit

The civil lawsuit accuses Gladney of assaulting the woman for over two hours.

vaccine, covid

St. Paul care home group will mandate COVID vaccines for staff

It comes amid reports of COVID outbreaks at homes where residents are all vaccinated, but staff are not.

Jail handcuffs arrest

Starbuck man charged with uploading, sharing child pornography

The 47-year-old was arrested after a tip from the National Center of Missing and Exploited Children.

ambulance

Boy, 11, seriously injured after 'fall' that police now suspect was abuse

It was initially reported that the boy slipped and fell.

police lights

Investigation underway after body found during welfare check in Plato

The identity of the deceased has not yet been revealed.

Mayor Brad Wiersum

'Please, please, please get vaccinated,' Minnetonka mayor pleads

This comes as the local state of emergency officially ends.

YouTube - Jeopardy screengrab minneapolis

Can you answer all the Minneapolis questions from this week's 'Jeopardy?'

KARE personalities including Randy Shaver and Rena Sarigianopoulos presented the clues.

Pexels - woman shop mask covid CROP

35 counties, including most of Twin Cities, now COVID hotspots

The CDC recommends everyone wear a mask in public, indoor places in these counties.

covid, coronavirus

CDC document: Delta variant as contagious as chickenpox

Vaccines remain very effective at preventing severe illness from the delta variant, however.

Related