Skip to main content
Updated:
Original:

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

Author:

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

mpd aldi incident screengrab

Video shows MPD officer grab, throw Aldi customer

The department says the matter was referred to the Office of Police Conduct Review.

US Sec Defense Flickr - Joe Bide Nov 11 2021

Biden lays out wintertime plan to curb COVID's spread

It comes as the U.S. reported its second case of the omicron variant.

Willow River DOC

MN Dept. of Corrections offering $5K bonuses as it seeks to hire 200

The DOC is offering hiring bonuses for new employees and for referrals.

covid

3rd federal medical team to join COVID-19 fight in Minnesota

There are more than 1,500 people with COVID-19 admitted to Minnesota hospitals.

hospital, emergency room

Driver killed after other motorist crosses into opposite lane

The head-on crash occurred early Thursday, just north of the Twin Cities.

shot clock

MSHSL approves shot clock for Minnesota varsity basketball

Shot clocks will be required at all varsity games beginning in 2023-24.

Redmons Popcorn Colbert screengrab

Popcorn shop featured on 'The Late Show' has to close 2 days later

A county inspection after the national TV appearance found code violations.

covid, vaccine

Minnesotan infected with omicron was vaccinated, had booster shot

The Hennepin County man received his booster shot in early November.

Related