A 28-year-old man who St. Paul police subdued with a Taser in a downtown skyway in January says he filed a complaint Thursday and plans to sue the department.
Chris V. Lollie is black, and at least two of the officers who arrested him are white, and he says they detained him for no good reason as he was waiting to pick up his two children at preschool on the morning of Jan. 31.
“I want to see cops really answer for how they treat people,” he told the Star Tribune. “My civil rights were violated.”
Lollie captured part of the incident on a 5-minute video and uploaded it to YouTube earlier this week. (Video above. WARNING: Contains profanity.)
Lollie says a security guard had tried to kick him out of a First National Bank lounge, but he initially refused, noting he was within his rights to be there. A guard called police, who tried to question him about what the problem had been.
“There is no problem, that’s the thing,” Lollie calmly tells an officer. As an officer questions him as the two walk through a skyway, Lollie later says, “There is no — the problem is I’m black.”
Lollie declines to identify himself, and after a second officer tells him he is going to jail, the video goes to black, but audio is still rolling. Sounds of a scuffle are heard, Lollie pleads with officer to stop, and he tells them his children are now within view. "That's my kids right there!"
Lollie says that during the scuffle, an officer put his hands around his throat and tore open his jacket.
Police say that Lollie had been uncooperative, loud and declined to identify himself, which ultimately prompted them to use a stun gun in the arrest.
The Pioneer Press notes that the police report says Lollie was "actively resisting by attempting to pull his arm away" and "began to forcefully try to shove past us as he was pulling away from us."
Lollie was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process, although those charges were dismissed in July. Police held Lollie's phone – and the video it contained – from the time of the January arrest until after the charges were dismissed.
The officers in the incident have not been disciplined, WCCO reports.
St. Paul Police Chief Tom Smith posted a statement to Facebook Thursday that defends the arrest. No formal complaint from Lollie had been filed at the time of Smith's statement, the statement said.
The police chief notes that Lollie's video does not tell the whole story.
The statement, in part:
"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."
Lollie has noted that he neither raised his voice nor swore prior to the scuffle with police.