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Mayor Wants Review of Arrest in St. Paul Skyway

Updated: 09/01/2014 1:36 PM
Created: 08/29/2014 5:40 PM KSTP.com
By: Todd Wilson

A YouTube video of an arrest in St. Paul is lighting up the internet, and now we've learned the arrest is going to be investigated.

The video from January, posted by Christopher Lollie, shows a St. Paul police officer questioning him. Lollie is not seen in the video. The questioning soon turns physical when another officer walks up and tells Lollie he is going to jail. The video goes black, but you can hear a taser being used.

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman released a statement Friday saying he's asking the Police Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission to do a full review.

The incident all started in a seating area inside First National Bank in Downtown St. Paul. According to a St. Paul police report, it moved from there to a skyway where Lollie was eventually arrested.

St. Paul police released a statement that says, in part, "Our officers were called by private security guards on a man who was trespassing in a private area...at one point, the officers believed he might either run or fight with them."

Police also say he pulled away and resisted officers. They then used force to safely take him into custody.

Lollie was restrained using a taser and charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstruction of the legal process. All charges were dismissed in July.

St. Paul police say Lollie requested information on how to file a complaint against police, but they've not yet received anything from him.

After watching the video, we asked attorney Dan Adkins if it's required by law to tell police your name when asked.

"You have an absolute right to not answer an officers questions. You have a fifth amendment right to not answer that question," Adkins said.

If this happens to you, Adkins says the first question to ask the officer is, "am I under arrest?" If the answer is no, he says you should just walk way.     

Below is Mayor Coleman's entire statement on the arrest of Christopher Lollie:

“In the last several days, a video of an arrest of an African-American man has led some to question the tactics and reputation of the Saint Paul Police Department. While the incident occurred over eight months ago, the video raises a great deal of concern, especially given this summer’s shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

“It is important to know all the facts of this case prior to reaching any conclusions. In the City of Saint Paul, the Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission (PCIARC) exists for such purposes. In addition, the mission of PCIARC is to establish and build trust between the police department and the community. Therefore, I am requesting that a full review be conducted by PCIARC of this matter.  Normally, these reviews are conducted pursuant to a complaint filed by an individual. However, I believe this matter should receive such a review regardless of a formal complaint being filed.

“I have also reached out to leadership in the African-American community to discuss this incident.  There will be a formal meeting on Monday with the NAACP, the African American Leadership Council, and the Saint Paul Black Ministerial Alliance and the leadership in the Saint Paul Police Department. I hope we can have a candid conversation about this particular incident – but, more importantly, I hope that we can build upon the long-standing relationships that exist, and map out further work that we can do to continue to build trust between our community and the Police.

“The Saint Paul Police Department has a strong reputation as one of the finest departments in the country.  The department, led by Chief Thomas Smith, has worked particularly hard at building relations with communities of color in our city by working with leadership in the NAACP, directly participating in racial equity work and community outreach programs, and recruiting officers that reflect the diversity of Saint Paul.  

“As Mayor of this City, I know how important it is that when the Police say they are there to protect and serve, our residents know this means to protect and serve all, equally, without regard to race. Whenever this is questioned, it is critical that we do what we can to build and maintain that trust. We will work directly with community leaders to do that as the PCIARC reviews the incident of January 31, 2014.”

WARNING: The video contains expletives.


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