A Black man in St. Paul, Minn. who arrested and charged earlier this year for resisting arrest had those charges dropped last July. This week, the man has come forward with cellphone video of the incident and the police say that the clip doesn’t tell the true story.
Christopher Lollie, 28, was waiting in downtown St. Paul on the morning of Jan. 31 at a skyway to see if his children made it to daycare according to his statements. A bank security guard asked Lollie to leave the area, declaring it private. Lollie said there were no signs indicating what the guard said, but police were called to the scene.
The video Lollie captured showcases a tense, but relatively calm conversation between he and a pair of police officers. Lollie is trying to explain to the officers he had clear right to sit in the area as there were no signs declaring it a private area. Lollie also alleges that the police were called because he was Black. A third cop comes, definitely a lot more aggressively than the pair Lollie has already engaged, and things turn for the worse.
The cops crowd Lollie, take his cellphone and place it on a ledge, but it’s still recording. Without announcing charges or why they’ve cornered Lollie, they began to place cuffs on him. Lollie can be heard screaming on the clip for someone to help him and it appears that the daycare group his children are a part of walked by as it was happening.
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Lollie was charged with three misdemeanors — trespassing, disorderly conduct and obstructing legal process. All counts were dismissed July 31. Lollie said his attorney went to court with surveillance video from the skyway and witness statements.
Police had Lollie’s cellphone after his arrest; he was told they were holding it as evidence, and he got it back after the court case was dismissed. Lollie posted the video last week on his Facebook page and, after hearing from people who wanted to share it, posted it Tuesday to YouTube.
When Lollie encountered police in January, he had been “trying my hardest to maintain my calm demeanor just because I know if I do anything outside of these bounds, they could really do some damage to me,” he said in an interview Wednesday. “I really feel blessed I was in the skyway. If this had happened somewhere else, I might have ended up a little more hurt than I was.”
St. Paul police issued a statement via Facebook that the cops “used the force necessary” to subdue Lollie and feared he would fight them or run. Lollie says he’s considering a lawsuit and filing complaints with the department’s Internal Affairs division as well.
Watch the video of the incident below. Let us know your thoughts on this case in the comments.