First National Bank Building asked folks to "enjoy seat" where Chris Lollie sat before arrest
Lollie says he was sitting in the chair second closest to the camera in the picture at right when he was arrested in the First National Bank Building's skyway.
:::: UPDATE :::: Pioneer Press photog told to stop shooting in "private" St. Paul skyway
One of the controversies surrounding Chris Lollie's rough, racially charged arrest in the First National Bank Building's skyway is whether the seat he was sitting in when a security guard asked him to leave is in a public space.
A post on the First National Bank Building's Facebook page suggests it is.
St. Paul police defend Chris Lollie arrest; lawyers question aggressive use of force
Here's the post, which was published in September 2009 but is newsy after video of Lollie's arrest hit the internet:
We texted Lollie a screengrab of the post and asked him if he can confirm it shows the very chair he sat in before his arrest.
"I sure can, it's the one in the first set facing toward the camera," he replies.
We also asked Lollie how long he was sitting in the chair before a security guard approached and started giving him a hard time.
"Two minutes after," he replies. The guard "walked up to me, we talked for about two or three minutes."
"I sat down at 9:40 [a.m.] and by roughly 9:45 our conversation was done and he was calling the police," Lollie continues.
But in a statement defending the conduct of officers who handled Lollie's arrest, St. Paul police say they were summoned to the scene on a report of "a man who was trespassing in a private area."
(For more, click to page two.)
"The guards reported that the man had on repeated occasions refused to leave a private 'employees only' area in the First National Bank Building," the St. Paul PD statement continues, though Lollie tells us there was no signage around indicating that the chair was anything but public.
We called First National Bank Building's main phone number and asked to speak with someone who could answer questions about the public/private status of the area in question, but were told that because of the Labor Day holiday, we'd have to wait until today at the earliest to speak with anyone who could respond to our inquiry.
Meanwhile, on Friday, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman released a statement calling for a "full review" of Lollie's arrest by the city's Police-Civilian Internal Affairs Review Commission, which is made up of five citizens and two members of the police union.
Following the release of Coleman's statement, the president of the police union, Dave Titus, released a statement of his own blaming Lollie for the rough treatment he received, including a tasing.
"The outcome of this arrest was determined by Mr. Lollie himself," Titus says. "He refused numerous lawful orders for an extended period of time. The only person who brought race into this situation was Mr. Lollie."
Titus also criticized Mayor Coleman for passages in his statement saying things like, "The video [of Lollie's arrest] raises a great deal of concern, especially given this summer's shooting death of Mike Brown in Ferguson."
"Some of the Mayor's statements regarding this arrest were inflammatory and could potentially and unnecessarily create an unsafe climate for residents and officers alike," Titus says.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss City Pages' biggest stories.