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St. Paul police arrest a black man for sitting on a bench waiting for his children

"The problem is I’m black. That’s the problem. No, it really is. Because I didn’t do anything wrong . . . I’m sitting there by myself, not causing a problem with anyone.”
By JC Sevcik Follow @JCSevcik Contact the Author   |   Aug. 29, 2014 at 5:17 PM
ST. PAUL, Minn., Aug. 28 (UPI) -- A cellphone video uploaded to Youtube Tuesday shows St. Paul police arresting an apparently calm and mostly cooperative adult black male for, ostensibly, sitting on a public bench and refusing to identify himself.

According to Minneapolis City Pages, police responded to a call about a man loitering in the skyway of downtown St. Paul's First National Bank Building at 9:43 a.m. on Jan. 31.

The footage shows a white female officer asking then-27-year-old Chris Lollie to provide his name and identification.

Lollie, explaining to the officer that he was sitting on a public bench while waiting for his children to get out of school after just getting off work himself, responds that he's done nothing wrong, knows his rights, and is not obligated to identify himself.

Moments later a second officer, a white male, responds to the call and immediately tries to grab Lollie and tells him he's going to jail.

The video and audio recording from Lollie's phone bears witness to his arrest.

Lollie remains calm and tries to reason with officers, but winds up being roughly detained, handcuffed, and tazed in front of his two young children.

Lollie was arrested and charged on three counts according to a copy of the police report provided by Minneapolis City Pages.

St. Paul Police Department's official version of events:

Squad 524, M. Johnson/ 526, B. Schmidt were called to the First National Bank Building (332 Minnesota) on a report of uncooperative male refusing to leave. Officers later made contact with this male... who refused to cooperate and would not give his name. He was later arrested for Trespassing, Disorderly Conduct, and Obstructing Legal Process (Citation #620900211109).

All charges against Lollie were later dropped by the city.

Six months later, the St. Paul Police Department returned Lollie's confiscated phone with the recording of the event, which Lollie uploaded to Youtube Tuesday.

[Transcription Below]


"So what's you business with me right now?" Lollie asks the officer.

"I want to find out who you are and what the problem was back there—" the officer replies.

"There is no problem, that's the thing" Lollie interrupts calmly, slowly walking away.

"Well, talk to me, let me know who you are, and then you can be on your way," the officer says.

"Why do I have to let you know who I am?" Lollie asks politely. "Who I am isn't the problem—"

"Because that's what police do when they get called, is they identify people . . ."

Lollie explains again that he has just gotten off work at 9 a.m. and was sitting on the bench while waiting for his children to get out of a nearby school at 10 a.m. when a store clerk who called police to complain Lollie was loitering confronted him.

"I don't have to let you know who I am—I know my rights, first off—secondly, secondly, I don't have to let you know who I am if I haven't broken any laws. I told you like I told him, I'm going to New Horizons to pick up my kids at ten o'clock. I was sitting on that bench for ten minutes—"

"Thank you for explaining—"

"He walked up to me a minute after and got irate with me. First off, that is a public area, and if there's no sign that says 'this is a private area, you can't sit here' no one can tell me I can't sit there—" Lollie tells the officer.

"The problem was—" she begins but Lollie interrupts saying, "There is no . . .The problem is I'm black. That's the problem. No, it really is. Because I didn't do anything wrong. I'm not sitting there with a group of people. I'm sitting there by myself, not causing a problem with anyone."

The a second officer approaches, an older white male.

Lollie greets him, saying: "What's going on brother? I got to go get my kids."

Immediately the second officer tries to grab Lollie without warning.

"Please don't touch me," Lollie says. "Please don't touch me."

"Well you're gonna go to jail then," the officer says.

The white male officer continues to try to forcefully grab for Lollies phone, continues speaking over him, telling him he's "not there to argue" while Lollie continues to plead that he's done nothing wrong.

"This is assault," Lollie says.

"Put your hands behind your back!"

"I didn't do anything wrong!"

"I gotta go get my kids!

"Put your hands behind your back or this is going to get ugly!"

"What do you need from me?"

"I told you . . ." the female officer intervenes, explaining again that they want Lollies identification despite Lollie informing her that it is within his rights to refuse.

Scrambling, shuffling.

A scuffle.

The video goes black.

As he is handled by the police, Lollie has dropped his phone.

The audio continues.

We hear police forcefully detaining Lollie as he screams "Somebody help me! I haven't done anything wrong! My kids! My kids are right there!"

"PUT YOUR HANDS BEHIND YOUR BACK!" the male officers bellows at the top of his lungs.

Lollie's children cry in the background.

"Don't choke me! I have asthma, sir! I'm not doing anything— Ow! Ow! Get off me! Somebody please help me! Somebody help me!"

We hear the crackling of a taser.

The audio continues after Lollie is arrested, as he still tries to reason with the unreasonable officials, explaining that he did not resist, did not raise his voice, did not swear, and wasn't attempting to flee, he tells them tasseling him and cuffing him was unnecessary. Lollie admits to having a small amount of marijuana on his person and tells officers he doesn't sell.

"I didn't do anything wrong. I just got off work at nine o'clock. I work at Cossetta's. And I come here to pick up my kids at ten o'clock. And I get this?" Lollie says. "Racist Mother[expletives]! All ya'll!"

"I didn't do anything wrong! I'm a working man. I take care of my kids," Lollie says. "And I get this?" we hear him say. "And you taze me. For what!? I don't have any weapons. You're the ones with the weapons here."

At the end of the video, Lollie again asks to be allowed to pick up his children, explaining that he is responsible for them and has a job to maintain and again is denied by the officers, who tell him he's going to jail because he wouldn't stop and provide identification when asked.

As he's being led away, Lollie shouts, "This is racism!"

An officer echoes him, "This is racism."

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