UPDATE: One day after Chris Lollie's footage was released, the St. Paul Police Department defended the arrest, saying that they "have had a discussion with the man in the video and he was given information on how to file a formal complaint if that was his desire." Lollie said the police department's allegations of trespassing were false. Weeks later, the St. Paul PD released new surveillance video of Lollie's arrest, along with the official criminal complaint.
A cell phone video posted to YouTube this week shows a St. Paul police officer roughing up a black man who was apparently doing nothing more than sitting in the skyway, waiting to pick up his kids.
At 9:43 a.m. on January 31, police were summoned to the skyway in downtown St. Paul's First National Bank Building on a report of a man loitering. The video footage shows an officer asking the then-27-year-old man to provide his name.
"Why do I have to let you know who I am? Who I am isn't the problem," the man calmly replies.
"Because that's what police do when they get called," the officer responds.
The man explains he was sitting in the skyway waiting to pick up his kids at 10 o'clock from the New Horizon Academy school. He says he had gotten off work at Cossetta at 9 a.m.
He tells the officer, "First off, that's 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 here."
"The problem is..." the officer says, before she's cut off.
"The problem is I'm black. That's the problem," the man interjects. "It really is because I didn't do anything wrong."
Though that exchange was more conversational than confrontational, things escalate when another officer, Bruce Schmidt, arrives on the scene.
"What's up brother?" the man says to him.
"You're going to jail. You're not my brother," Schmidt replies.
At that point, the officers force the man to put his hands behind his back. A struggle ensues, during which he's tased.
"Can somebody help me?" he screams. "That's my kids right there, my kids are right there!"
After he's restrained, the man, understandably upset, calls the officers "racist motherfuckers" and says, "I didn't do anything wrong, I didn't break any laws and you tase me? That's assault."
The police report says the man was arrested on suspicion of disorderly conduct and obstructing the legal process. Here's the St. Paul PD'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).The man was charged with trespassing, disorderly conduct, and obstructing the legal process, but those charges were later dropped.
On Twitter, the St. Paul PD's public information officers said no formal complaint has been filed in connection with the incident.