St. Paul approves $100,000 settlement in skyway arrest lawsuit

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Promising to continue discussing the issue of police misconduct, the St. Paul City Council voted unanimously to approve settling an excessive force lawsuit.

The City will pay $100,000 to Chris Lollie, whose video of his arrest in a St. Paul skyway made headlines nationwide, according to council documents.

Lollie ended up suing the city and the police officers involved, saying he was targeted because he's black, alleging excessive force and false arrest, among other claims.

Ward 4 Council Member and President Russ Stark said during Wednesday's meeting that the settlement was the best option for the city, but he doesn't want conversations about police misconduct to end.

"The part of it that I do regret is that in some ways the settlement cuts off the public conversation," Stark said. "And I guess what I'm saying is that my intention is to keep that public conversations going around these important topics."

Other council members echoed similar sentiment, saying police and other officials should continue to talk to prevent future incidents from happening.

The arrest

Lollie said he was sitting in a skyway-level seating area in the First National Bank Building, waiting to pick up his kids from a nearby preschool, when a security 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.

Police said Lollie was being uncooperative, which prompted them to use the stun gun.

Much of the incident was caught on video: one angle from Lollie’s cellphone, the other from a surveillance camera. Both videos have been released.

After publishing cellphone video in August 2014, Lollie filed a complaint against the police department. St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman then asked the city’s Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission to do a full review, and the officers involved were cleared of any wrongdoing in November 2014.

Charges against Lollie, which included trespassing and disorderly conduct, were dropped.

Earlier this month, a judge ruled the case should go to trial because of the disputed facts in the case – but now that the settlement has been approved, Lollie's federal lawsuit against the city is over, the Pioneer Press says.

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